Depictions on Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Kurtz's Painting, and Orwell's 1984 (Term Paper Sample)
Write a 6-11 page paper discussing relationships we have encountered over the semester, but especially since assignment of the midterm, between history and what we have been calling ideology. Furthermore, connect the concept and practice of ideology with or to what characters in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four refer to as "doublethink and "doublespeak." One might, for example, take into account the relationship between the blindfolded woman carrying a torch in a painting by Mr. Kurtz in The Heart of Darknness on the one hand, and the realities of what Europeans were doing in the Congo and why on the other. By this, one might mean "the horror" perpetrated there in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by agents of King Leopold of Belgium's company, but one might also take into account the "cultural treasures" and "documents of civilization" that resulted. One might include a discussion of our "cultural treasures" and "documents of civilization" in 2019, taking into account their origins.
One might look also to to earlier foundations of modern civilizations, and our own world, by addressing the implicit teachings regarding masters and servants, order and chaos, and the alleged virtues of Enlightenment through accumulation of capital, territory, knowledge, and power evident in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. One can find bases for critically thinking about such matters by perusing works we have read by Nell Irvin Painter, Jamelle Bouie, and Mark Twain, as well as primary-source evidence for one's arguments in the writings of Albert Beveridge, John O'Sullivan, Rudyard Kipling, and Henry Luce, as well as John Gast's painting, American Progress.
A central question with regard to modern societies may center upon questions of "cultural genocide" and assimilation. Essays we have read on Japanese American incarceration that began in 1942 and the so-called Indian Schools in the United States touch upon this issue. Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, towards that novel's end, takes the tendencies of modern societies to demand assimilation, obedience, submission, etc., to the point of what one might call the genocide of personality or destruction of individual psychology, what in the People's Republic of China people termed xinao 洗脑 or brainwashing. One should explore relationships between this, what in other words happens to the character Winston Smith, and ideological processes and processing in the history of modern societies as we have studied them. Lastly, excellent students might revisit James C. Scott's introduction to Against the Grain, contemplating his argument that from the absolute beginning, states have been coercive social forms that produce oppressive social hierarchies and limit freedom.
The above three paragraphs contain suggestions regarding how one might proceed. HOWEVER, one cannot address all of what is involved. It is best to pick an argument and pick a story to tell that supports it. Nonetheless, to earn a high grade by making a suitably nuanced argument, students must draw significant details from a significant number of assigned readings. This means providing the information that will make one's writing as meaningful as possible. One should also demonstrate that one has in fact substantially done required reading, has come to lectures and paid attention, and has insofar as possible attempted to understand readings and LECTURES.
History and ideology
Ideology is a set of beliefs or a way of thinking that an individual or entity possesses for a variety of reasons like political, economic, or policy. However, despite many people taking pride in certain ideologies, scholars note that the actions of some of these people often do not reflect their ideologies. George refers to this concept as doublethink or doublespeak. The illustration by Conrad in the Heart of Darkness about the apparent contradiction between the Europeans’ self-proclaimed values and their atrocities in Congo portrays the concept of doublespeak and doublethink. This paper will examine the relationship between history and ideology, particularly as George Orwell’s 1984 and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness illustrated.[Orwell, George. 1949. 1984. 1st ed. London: Secker & Warburg.] [Conrad, Joseph. 2007. Heart of Darkness. 1st ed. California: Coyote Canyon Press.]
The intentions of bringing civilization to the African continent
Conrad tells of the differences between London, which he considered the greatest place on earth, and Africa. The Heart of Darkness narrates about the voyage of Charles Marlow into the depth of Congo through the Congo river. Ewans Sir and Ewans reveal that the African continent had fascinated Marlow since his childhood, and he always wished to travel to the continent. Charles Marlow worked for “the company,” a shady company that dealt in the ivory trade. His first encounter with the African continent was in his company’s station, where he met the sickly, dying Africans who worked for the company. It is also at the station where Marlow learns about Kurtz. Marlow’s fascination with ‘the legendary’ Mr. Kurtz was evident. Most of the people in the station viewed Mr. Kurtz as a fascinating man who was equal to the gods. A brick-maker in the station described Mr. Kurtz as an incarnation of mercy, science and progress who depicts unmatched intelligence, compassion, and objectiveness.[Conrad, Joseph. 2007. Heart of Darkness. 1st ed. California: Coyote Canyon Press.] [Ewans Sir, Martin, and Martin Ewans. 2002. European Atrocity, African Catastrophe: Leopold II, The Congo Free State and Its Aftermath. 1st ed. London: Routledge.]
Conrad notes that in the station, Marlow sees a painting of a woman who was blindfolded and carried a lighted torch. The background of the painting was completely dark, and the mood of the painting was somber. Mr. Kurtz had done the painting with a deep symbolism in mind. The woman depicted the company which brought light into the darkness of the continent. The woman was blindfolded to symbolize that the company turned a blind eye to the sufferings and atrocities of the continent to preserve its profits. The woman carrying a torch also symbolized that the company was bringing civilization into the darkness of the African content. Earlier in the novel, Conrad revealed the stereotyping of Africans by the Europeans. For instance, after learning of Marlow’s upcoming voyage, Marlow’s aunt hoped that the former would help civilize the ignorant savages (the Africans). In addition to this, the woman carrying a torch in the painting also symbolized Kurtz. Conrad explains that Kurtz had a deep urge to bring civilization to the Africans. However, this was never to be as the novel introduces the concept of doublespeak and double thinking.[Conrad, Joseph. 2007. Heart of Darkness. 1st ed. California: Coyote Canyon Press.] [Conrad, Joseph. 2007. Heart of Darkness. 1st ed. California: Coyote Canyon Press.]
The irony in Kurtz’s painting
As noted earlier, the painting that Kurtz created depicted the intention of Kurtz and the company to bring civilization to the African people, particularly in Congo. However, the case was to be completely different. Conrad explains that Kurtz committed great atrocities to the Africans in Congo. Ewans Sir and Ewans also reveal the horrors that Kurtz and the company committed in Africa. The two only endeared to their profits and ignored the plight of the people of Congo. When Marlow first arrived at the company’s station, he witnessed overworked skinny African laborers
- Slavery And Colonialism History Term Paper ResearchDescription: The tremendous growth of the Canadian economy was aided by the African slaves who worked for the Canadians. This economy led to the growth of industries among others as a result of presence of the industrial materials and labour offered by the slaves in the industries...7 pages/≈1925 words| 10 Sources | Chicago | History | Term Paper |
- Strategic Blunders:Hitler’s Military Strategies in Operation BarbarossaDescription: The Directive no. 21, issued by Adolf Hitler to the German army called for the Germans’ attempt at invading the Soviet Union through Operation Barbarossa in the WWII, 22nd of June, 1941...5 pages/≈1375 words| 20 Sources | Chicago | History | Term Paper |
- CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT BETWEEN THE 1950S AND 1960S Description: In the mid-1950s, individuals began protesting against discrimination and racial segregation in the U.S. In the process, they developed the civil rights movement that gained national prominence....7 pages/≈1925 words| 5 Sources | Chicago | History | Term Paper |