Comparison of Natives The natives in the Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart were similar in many ways. In both novels white people came into their land and disrupted their society. The white people in both books looked at the blacks as inferior and full of sin. In both stories it appears that the natives were living without real problems and the white people came in and caused complete confusion and mayhem.
When the white people came into each town in Africa they assumed they had the right to be there. The natives did not speak the white peoples language nor did they understand their politics or customs. Thus, the natives were unable to understand he white peoples purpose until it was too late. In Heart of Darkness the effect of the white people was clearly more wretched than in Things Fall Apart. The natives in Heart of Darkness became diseased by the white people.
They had never experienced the illnesses that the white people had brought in from Europe. "Brought from all the recesses of the coast in all the legality of time contracts, lost in uncongenial surroundings, fed on unfamiliar food, they sickened, became inefficient, and were then allowed to crawl away and rest.(p. 82)" In addition, the white people hired the natives to work for them on ships. Marrow, the main character, hired many natives to work on his steamboat. In order to reach his destination and save valuable time he sacrificed feeding his crew. He noticed that they had become tired and very starved looking but it didn't matter.
In Things Fall Apart the disruption of the white people may not have been as exaggerated but it definitely was present. Unlike Heart of Darkness the white people came to Africa to spread the Christian religion. Yet, the natives were unclear as to why the white people had come to their villages. Not only did the white missionaries bring religion but they also brought new type of laws equipped with a court house. The natives were not used to this new way of living. In this new law system many of the rituals and traditions the natives had lived by for centuries were forbidden. For example, the natives had a tradition that twins had to be killed. The white people saw this as barbaric and cruel and put the natives in jail if they killed then newborn twins. While in jail the natives were beaten and forced to work for the white people. "Some of these men were men of title who should be above such mean occupation. They grieved by the indignity and mourned for their neglected farms.(p. 160)" In both novels the white people came into the native villages and assumed that the white way was the right way. In Heart of Darkness when Marlo arrived near the Congo he engaged in a conversation with a man who informed him after hearing loud shouts from the natives that, " When one has got to make correct entries, one comes to hate those savages- hate them to death." In addition, Marrow often referred to the natives as being simple men and women who really didn't know any better.(p. 127) Also, Kurtz had made a report for the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs. In this report he discussed that the white people, " must necessarily appear to them (savages) in the nature of supernatural beings - we approach them with might and deity." (p. 123) In Things Fall Apart a similar view was held. In this case the whites viewed the blacks as mainly having a false religion as they believed in many gods. The white people believed that there was only one God and they proceed to tell the natives that their belief was wrong and they should change their religion. "There are no other gods, Chukwu is the only God and all others are false. You carve a piece of wood-like that one"(he pointed at the rafters from which Akunna's carved Ikenga hung.) "and you call it a god. But it is still a piece of wood.(p. 164)" Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart both contain parts where white foreigners are mistreating natives. These white people used the natives as cheap labor and exploited them. In both books the white people tried to convert all the natives to a new religion by denouncing the religion that the natives have been following for years.