Wordle: Project

At the root of all corruption our innate selfish nature seeks to improve our life at the expense of all threats and innocent bystanders. One mode of this expression is the pursuit of money. Perpetual offenders include the large corporations of any given society. This can be a conflict of interest as big business goes to any end to make sure they meet the bottom line even if it is at the expense of the very clientele that support them. A simple example would include lobbying by tobacco companies to limit warnings and obscene pictures that directly correlate with use of their product. Similarly, the big businesses of the real world and that of literature both strive to limit the voices of those, that may reveal their underhandedness. Some famous novels captures these pursuits. Two examples include Heart of Darkness and The Jungle. These authors successfully captivate the audience with their mastery of literary techniques, while simultaneously telling the story of the oppressors and the oppressed, ironically the publications of these struggles result in a backlash against these tyrants from the public, and overwhelm the antagonist's original intent.

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In the novel the Jungle, as well as in this scene from The Newsies, the act of suppressing or appeasing those whose voice may pose a threat, is exemplified. During the early 20th century, the meatpacking industry, ran a muck with corruption. The slaughterhouse in Chicago was unsanitary to the point of rat infestations and tuberculosis carrying beef. It also posed a dangerous job for the workers and it was even reported that someone fell in and was churned with the rest of the meat. This business was at the bottom of the totem pole of morality, but what does that matter to a big business in the face of economic efficiency. In order to hush up the truth, they proceeded to buy off anyone who could hold power over them: first the government inspectors and then police officers and judges. As they were unwilling to sacrifice any profit they could make, even illegally,honesty and fair play were the first things to go. Despite their out-of-the-way effort to silence other views, lies don't stand forever, and the info got out. A muckraker journalist, Upton Sinclair, secretly inspected the complex, while working there. He uncovered the hidden truths and published them to the world. Similarly, in the movie The Newsies, the workers gained the friendship of a reporter who helped them to show the city the corruption of the newspaper industry. In both of these an important point is shown: All stories that are hidden find a way to make themselves known.

Heart of Darkness uses gloom to set a somber tone. Conrad has been accused for using Africans as a "back drop" for his controversial book. Many have argued that he objectifies these indigenous people. I believe he consciously chose to describe the hardships of imperialism from the perspective of Marlow. By choosing Marlow, Conrad is able to explore insanity and evil of the "dark continent" independently. Kurtz symbolizes the antagonistic views of the company, as he never strays away from using force to subdue Africans. I agree with those that say Conrad is a product of his period. Another example would include the use of the "n word" in Huckleberry Finn. I believe that if people can't understand the context of a book, they should not be allowed to pass judgments against an author who they have no understanding of. It is not only ignorant but it is similar to the intolerance that Europe showed towards the prior culture of Africa.

Although modern taboos nullify controversial societal issues raised in The Jungle and Heart of Darkness, a deeper message can be taken from the texts regarding justice. In both cases gloom permeate the entire story, I believe this gloom exemplifies the authors' conscience choice of perspective. That is to say if these authors wished to tell a story of prosperity they would have chosen the man enjoying the fruits from the push for resources in Africa, instead of emphasizing on those who had suffered from this greed and intolerance. This emphasis along with the publication of a popular text provides justice where there is a lack.

In conclusion I believe that the selection of sensitive issues in literature results in an eventual benefit for those that are victims. In both novels the Jungle and Heart of Darkness the authors describe real historical situations through the eyes of their character. This gives them free reign to describe what they want, and in both cases have become incredible popular. They have ingrained themselves in our culture and provide a subject for dialogue that eventually results in an acceptance of the outcasts, whether it be European immigrants being mistreated in the work place or slaves in the viscous pursuit of natural resources.


"big business comic" Web. 6 December 2010. <http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/b/big_business.asp>
Elbarbary, Samir. "'Heart of Darkness' and late-Victorian fascination with the primitive and the double - novel by Joseph Conrad." BNet. N.p., 22 Apr 1993. Web. 12 Dec 2010. <http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0403/is_n1_v39/ai_14377597/>.