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Colonialism, Imperialism, Symbolism, and Materialism in Heart of Darkness

Imperialism, Symbolism, and Materialism in Heart of Darkness

In Conrad’s Heart of Darkness Marlow, the main character, symbolizes the positiveness of Imperialism. Marlow, as a character realizes the evil that negative Imperialism has caused and decides it is truly unnecessary. When Marlow states, “I had got a heavenly mission to civilize you,” he expresses his good intentions to help the Africans progress and advance. Furthermore, when he says, “I was an impostor,” Marlow recognizes the fact that he is an invader into a foreign land, yet he sticks to his moral values.

Marlow observes many kinds of abuse of power by other whites, simply because they have better weapons of war. When the manager severely battered a young black boy for the burnt shed Marlow disapproves. However, when he sees abuses and unjust treatment he does not physically try to stop it. Instead, he just turns away and accepts that it is happening. That is one of Marlow’s flaws, he does not support his convictions.

Marlow also symbolizes the uncorrupted men that traveled to foreign lands to help the ‘uncivilized’ become cultured, but unlike the others Marlow does not become indoctrinated by an alternative motive. He is able to see through the materialistic ideals that had plagued the men before him. Marlow has the open-mindedness and sensitivity that was absent during Imperialism, but doesn’t have the courage or power to stop the abuses that where ongoing. Marlow is proof that when confronted a man’s evil side can be both informative and perilous.

The manager is the epitome of the negative effects of the institution of Imperialism. He is corrupt, uncaring, arrogant and self-centered. He symbolizes the arrogance of Europeans as they encountered native Africans. His good health symbolizes the everlastingness of Europeans who invaded Africa and their ability to continually come to Africa and rape it of its natural resources. He is the true symbol of the evil and cold-heartiness of imperialists.

The manager was an illustration of an established imperialist power. He was well settled in, as demonstrated by the fact he controls all the stations. An example of his power over others was when he had the black boy thrashed for the burning of a shed. In addition, he is expansionist and wishes to destroy Kurtz and gain a monopoly on the ivory trade. The manager’s discussion with his uncle is yet another example of his ruthlessness and amoralness.

Bonds between Mothers and Daughters in Breath, Eyes, Memory and the Joy Luck Club

Bonds between Mothers and Daughters in Breath, Eyes, Memory and the Joy Luck Club

Breath, Eyes, Memory and the Joy Luck Club both describe the bonds between mothers and daughters. The relationships between the mother and daughter depicted in BEM and JLC is largely influenced by a foreign culture conflicting with the American culture. However, that is where the similarities end for the two novels. After reading the Joy Luck Club, my interest in Chinese culture was increased due to the fact that it is a deep-rooted culture very old and with a powerful philosophy. After reading Breath, Eyes, Memory, I have no interest in learning more about Haiti. The culture seems very dark, depressing and void of intelligent thought.

For many immirgrants, leaving home is not an easy task. For Sophie leaving everything that she has ever known was not very easy for her. It is also very difficult to remove someone or something for an envoirment that they a grown very acustom too; however not ever knowing you mother and the only way that you can see her is by leaving you homeland and everyone you have know there. For a daughter to not know her mother is a very difficult sittuation. Having a sister I know the bond that a mother and her daughter have. In many ways they are each others confidants.

For Sophie there were many things that she knew and that was fine with her; however like I said before you did not know her mother and that gave her enough reason to leave everything to go to new york. When the oppourtiny finally came Sophie she had to suck it up and leave on a plane bound for the New World. Meeting Her mother for the first time was very difficult for Sophie; however the most hardest thing to deal with was the tremendous chang…

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…an because they would be of the same culture. The change from living some where that is dominated by one culture to moving to a neighborhood that has a variety of cultures, is going to take it’s toll. For example it was unheard of that a young girl would not listen to her mother, but in America, were individuality is stressed more it was common for young girls to try and find their own way.

In conclusion problems always arrive during immigration. In my opinion immigration would be more successful if people realized how much they had in common with others rather then how they are different. It would also run more smoothly if we realized that people are going to be effected by the new culture and that change is inevitable.

Works Cited:

Danticat, Edwidge. Breath, Eyes, Memory. New York: Vintage, 1994.

Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. New York: Putnam, 1989.

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