Monday, April 4, 2011

Heart of Darkness and Midnight's Children

While we were discussing Methwold's character in class, I kept thinking of Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The colonizers in Heart of Darkness, like Methwold in Midnight's Children, act as if they are above the natives, yet perform vulgar actions. This divide between the West and India blurs, leading the reader to question the true differences of the two cultures. Just as we tried to decipher the source of the darkness in Conrad’s novella, we have attempted to determine whether the positive impact of the Europeans outweighs the negative effect. Rushdie seems to reject binary thinking, and thus he narrows the gap between Indians and Westerners. What examples does Rushdie give to refute traditional, binary ways of thinking?


Samantha said...

I immediately thought of Heart of Darkness too as we discussed the issue of imperalism. A direct parallel between the two works serves as the European man's seeking of a native mistress who is portrayed in an exotic manner. In Heart of Darkness, Conrad describes Kurtz's "dark" mistress as a passionate, "savage and superb" woman who is covered in barbaric ornaments. Similarly, Methwold has an affair with a native, low-caste Indian woman named Vanita. However, despite their magnetic attraction toward the native women, both men inevitably leave their mistresses behind as they depart for Europe.

Katherine said...

Heart of Darkness and Midnight's Children are novels based off of countries during times of change. There is a constant confusion in both Heart of Darkness and Midnight's Children when trying to decide if something is a European tradition or in Midnight's Children's case, an Indian tradition. I think the character of Methwold adds a dimension to the novel that is a necessity because since this was such an important time for India, the mix of cultures needs to be represented.