Colonialism Essay Example

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African Colonialism in Literature

Colonialism Essay: Introduction

The best way to understand the nature of colonialism as an example is to analyze the situation in Mozambique, which is a colony itself. It can be seen that a foreign country (Portugal) has occupied Mozambique. Portugal has sent out troops to fight the people, and they rebel; it has organized an administrative machine - with governors, administrators, and police officers spread out all over the country to control every region and area of Mozambique.

It has created special laws meant to protect the interests of the Portuguese, with absolute disdain for the benefits and the rights of the Mozambicans (Bragança & Wallerstein 1982). It has established a system of exploitation of the land and the people, giving out the most fertile areas and the best jobs to the Portuguese, submitting the Mozambicans to forced labor, and creating companies that belong to the Portuguese and others (such as the English, the French, the West Germans, the Swiss and the Belgians) who exploit the industry, the commerce and the agriculture of Mozambique.

That is: Portugal dominates and exploits Mozambique directly. The government in Mozambique is Portuguese, the law by which we must abide are made in Portugal, the army comes from Portugal the profits are sent back either to Portugal or to the imperialist countries which, by agreement with the former also participate in the exploitation of Mozambique; further, if these profits or riches do stay in Mozambique, they are shared only by the Portuguese.

This is what colonialism is all about: the exploitation and the direct control of one country over another (in this case, the control and exploitation of Mozambique by Portugal) (Bragança & Wallerstein 1982). Writers such as Cary and Conrad depict the lives of African people under the supervision of colonialists, but Achebe is considered the most successful writer in this particular theme.

Body Paragraphs

Conrad's Heart of Darkness

While depicting the African continent as a living being and feminine territory, which was hurt despite the treatment promises, Conrad uses a well-known land-as-body analogy (Lawtoo 2012). Several critics have observed that the functions in the creation of Manichean allegories that legitimized Western power, control, and possession of foreign lands, but it is now generally admitted that Conrad also uses it against itself.

The figuration of Africa in terms of the body is part of a complex strategy through which Conrad articulates and enacts his critique of colonial binaries and hierarchies. A careful examination of the 'body politics' of Heart of Darkness, especially when reading in the company of Lacour-Labarthe, refutes accusations of racism and sexism put forward in some classic critical accounts of Conrad's novella. The widespread use of the land-as-body analogy represented as an opening up of the supposedly Dark Continent by European forces, notoriously led to the production of feminized and racialized images of Africa in the Victorian period to legitimize imperialist violence.

Influenced by the heritage of the fear of the feminine and inflected towards imperialist concerns when projected upon the colonial context, these images combined the loathing of the female link to nature with anxieties about the degenerative influence attributed to foreign lands (Lawtoo 2012). However, instead of naturalizing colonial domination through the conventional practice of feminizing Africa, the descriptions of the jungle in the heart of Darkness expose the violence of the invasion, rule, and exploitation of foreign lands by European forces.

Achebe's Things Fall Apart

At the time of Things Fall Apart's creation, Chinua Achebe told that his goal was to show a complex, dynamic society to a Western audience who perceived the African nation as primitive, simple, and backward. For him, unless Africans could tell their side of their story, the African experience would be forever "untold," even by the famous writers.

John Cary was a colonial. He worked as an administrator in Nigeria, and he liked the citizens there. However, Chinua Achebe thinks that Cary and Conrad didn't understand Africa. Most of the authors depicted Africa as a dark continent like a land of savages and idiots (Bloom 2010). For Achebe, this reductionist portrayal of Africa is racist.

Achebe points out this shortcoming to Conrad, who wrote against imperialism, yet turned these people into unknown, barbarian, and foreign humans. In 1994, Chinua Achebe said that just because he is angry with Conrad's portrayal of Africa, it doesn't mean that students shouldn't read these works. Despite the misrepresentation of African life by western authors like Conrad and Cary, young learners should read them. On the contrary, Achebe urges students to read such works to understand the racism of the colonial era better.

In Things Fall Apart, Achebe depicts African society with religion, state, monetary system, a culture full of art and jurisdiction. Despite their unadvanced technology, Igbo culture was explained to readers as highly sophisticated. Moreover, this work is in contrast with the works of Conrad and Cary, which depict well-known African stereotypes (Bloom 2010). Instead, it is Achebe's white colonialists who are stereotypedrigid, most with imperialistic intentions, while the Igbo people are individualistic and open to change.

Colonialism Essay: Conclusion

The exploitation and the direct control of one country over another (in this case, the control and exploitation of Mozambique by Portugal) is what colonialism is all about. The descriptions of the jungle in Conrad's work Heart of Darkness, expose the violence of the invasion, rule, and exploitation of foreign lands by European forces. But Achebes's work Things Fall Apart is in contrast with the works of Conrad and Cary, which depict well-known African stereotypes. Instead, it is Achebe's white colonialists who are stereotypedrigid, most with imperialistic intentions, while the Igbo people are individualistic and open to change. Writers such as Cary and Conrad depict the lives of African people under the control of colonialists, but Achebe is considered the most successful writer in this particular theme.

References

Bloom, Harold. Chinua Achebes Things Fall Apart. Blooms Literary Criticism, 2010.

Bragança Aquino de., and Immanuel Wallerstein. The Anatomy of Colonialism. Zed Press, 1982.

Lawtoo, Nidesh. Conrads Heart of Darkness and Contemporary Thought: Revisiting the Horror with Lacoue-Labarthe. Bloomsbury, 2012.

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