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Essay on The Jungle and Things Fall Apart

The Jungle and Things Fall Apart

Frederick Douglass once said “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is in an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” Frederick Douglass was a runaway slave turned abolitionist, and while his history is quite amazing, what is even more intriguing is that this quote sums up the theme behind two books that have nothing to do with slavery or each other. One can conclude, therefore, that oppression, whether by law, in tradition, or by circumstance, is a universal theme. It’s sting knows no bounds, geographical, racial, or otherwise. The African American slave suffers from the same plight as the impoverished immigrant and the indigenous peoples subject to the invasion of Christian missionaries. Oppression, as a result, is a tie that binds two very unique novels together, or perhaps, just maybe they are not so different at all. Their parallels can best be analyzed by taking a closer look into the environments, the main characters, and the chilling symbolism present in The Jungle and Things Fall Apart.

The environments of both novels stand in stark contrast with each other; one a world of metal and machines, the other a land of straw huts and bare necessities. The common theme, however, is painfully simple. Both cultures are governed by the land, Chicago by the economy and Umuofia by it’s traditions. In Chicago, when the economy suffered so did the packing industry. When the world demanded less meat people would be laid off. In Umuofia so long as all people lived by the traditions and l…

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…tion and all people obeying said traditions. When the environment crumbles so do the societies that are dependant upon them. The two main characters are driven men who despite heroic efforts fall victims to circumstances they are powerless over. Jurgis and Okonkwo both fight the good fight, but lose to a world the cares not for their troubles. Finally, through symbolism the novels truly come alive. The symbolism present gives the reader a clear depiction of the cruelty that is to befall both men. It is truly tragic how close these horrific stories are, a sad testament to dark chapters in time honored establishments, American economy and Christian missionaries. If these are the consequences of such highly thought of establishments, is there anyway to stop oppression from overcoming the world? It tends to make one think.

The Character of Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter

The Character of Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter

Old Mr. Prynne began his new life in the town of Boston as the Physician Roger Chillingworth. The moment he arrived, the town deemed him intelligent and mild mannered; he always seemed pleasant although a little odd. Throughout the seven years he remained in Boston, his character changed so dramatically from admirable to evil that even those who did not know him personally seemed to notice an evil nature deep within his soul trying to break free.

Chillingworth stood with Hester Prynne within the confines of the prison, talking with her about how he would go about finding her lover. He says to her, “I shall seek this man, as I have sought truth in books; as I have sought gold in alchemy. There is a sympathy that will make me conscious of him” (pg. 70). As any man who found their wife to be adulterous, Chillingworth reacted with a fairly normal response- although angry and wanting revenge, he did not react totally unreasonably. After this talk with Hester between the prison walls, Chillingworth makes it his personal goal to find Hester’s lover; no sudden change had occurred within Chillingworth, although over a few months his demeanor beings to change.

Even though Hester has many other issues on her mind, while she is at the Governor’s house, she notices without hesitation that Chilingworth’s demeanor has made a drastic change. While Dimmesdale and Governor Bellingham are trying to decide the fate of Pearl and where she will remain during her lifetime, Hester glances at Chillingworth, who happens to be stand…

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…ing to us a character like Chillingworth, Hawthorn creates a villain that one has to think whether he/she hates Chillingworth or feels as though he’s a victim of circumstance. Without directly telling us that others influence our lives in such a powerful way, Hawthorne conveys this idea through Chillingworth and Chillingworth’s effect on those around him. Because of Chillingworth, the reader gets to see how a person who is not necessarily an evil man to begin with, can become so corrupt that even those around him view him as the Devil’s worker. By putting a character like Chillingworth in his book, Hawthorne is able to show how religion had a big influence over the people during that time period. Even though Chillingworth harassed Hester and Dimmesdale, the two were more afraid of their fates after death, than Chillingworth during their lifetimes.

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