Throughout ours lives out views are shaped for us through the stories we hear. In the novels Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness most of the characters views are shaped from what older or wiser characters say. In life many of our own views are given to us through the media. Stories are the ultimate way to shape the way humans look on life. In Things Fall Apart, Heart of Darkness, and in real life we see many examples of stories shaping our views of the world.


In the U.S., the two party system makes it so that there are two opinions on ANYTHING that happens. Different medias, like FOX or CNN, choose a party and base their opinions on whether they are republican or democratic. People often create an opinion on political happenings due to the media they get their information from. These videos are two examples, republican and democratic, on how people shape their views based on a story. They both cover the same issue, yet are focused on completely different things.

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In comparison to the way that the modern world is swayed by media, a character in Things Fall Apart bases her decision to switch to the Christian faith based on the story the missionaries tell. In chapter seventeen it says, "Her name was Nneka, the wife of Amadi, who was a prosperous farmer. She was very heavy with child. Nneka had had four previous pregancies and childbirths. But each time she had born twins and had been immediately thrown away. Her husband and his family were already becoming highly critical of such a woman and were not unduly perturbed when they had found they had fled to join the christians. It was a good riddance" (Achebe 91). People like to believe things that help them. Because Nneka was worried about the tribe throwing away her twins if she had them again, she fled to the Christians after hearing they wouldn't do such a thing. Nneka's view was shaped by the story the missionaries told because it protected her unborn children.








Similar to the way that villagers in Things Fall Apart view the Christians to be more impressive that they actually are, the music industry tricks the public by not focusing so much on the natural talent of musicians, but making people famous for being more than they really are. Nicki minaj, in the top music video, is known for her sleazy lyrics and for being featured in random rappers' songs, such as "bottoms up" by trey songz. She only has two "hit" songs, while Ella Fitzgerald has 22 hit songs on her "Greatist Hits" album, and is known for her (naturally) fantastic vocal skills. The music industry has blown Nicki Minaj up, and people believe that she really is talented because the music industry has made her seem like more of a star than she really is.


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The main character Marlow in Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, goes on his own journey to find the supposed "star" named Mr. Kurtz. In passage five, Marlow is informed of Mr. Kurtz's incredible self. "'he is a prodigy,' he said at last. 'He is an emissary of pity and science and progress, and the devil knows what else. We want,' he began to declaim suddenly, 'for the guidance of the cause intrusted to us by Europe, so to speak, higher intelligence, wide sympathies, a singleness of purpose'" (Conrad Passage 5). This high talk of Kurtz would make anyone want to go search for his wisdom, and Marlow wasn't any different. Once he arrived to the Inner Station, they are shown to where Kurtz is living by his "devoted follower". The devoted follower tells Marlow of Kurtz's true self, thus creating an entirely different opinion for Marlow. "'What can you expect?' he burst out; 'he came to them with thunder and lightning, you know-- and they had never seen anything like it--and very terrible. He could be very terrible. You can't judge Mr. Kurtz as you would an ordinary man. No, no, no! Now--just to give you an idea-- I don't mind telling you, he wanted to shoot me, too, one day--but I don't judge him'" (Conrad Passage 7). Clearly, this description of Kurtz is different from the description of him as a "prodigy". Sadly, Marlow had to discover for himself the wicked Mr. Kurtz, because he instantly believed the popular rumor of how incredible the man seemed to be. This is a prime example of how people will believe any good information they receive, even if it is false.


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Since we have realized that many people and characters will believe many stories they are told, some people are trying to point out the effects that are happening to our society because of this. The Jimirro Center for the Study of Media Influence at Penn State focuses its energy on "understanding the complex relationship between the mass media and the public". This group connects with journalists and such on issues such as terrorism, politics, health, advertising, and multicultural issues. This groups entire purpose is to explore "the study of how the mass media shape public opinion, and the extent to which television, the Internet, film, newspapers, and radio broadcasts impact citizens". So not only does the media change the political or musical opinions of people, but it could potentially affect the public depending on the information it gives out.

How can we not shape our views from stories we here if they seem interesting and valid to us? Isn't that the way that we get most if not all of our information, fact or fiction. In a cohesive society peoples views sometimes need to be shaped by certain stories. However, people need to start thinking for themselves and learning the truth sooner or later. Why should we listen to music if it really is crappy? Why should we hear party-favored stories? We shouldn't! The lesson to be learned from the characters in both Things Fall Apart and Heart of Darkness is that no matter what people tell us to believe, we must in the end decide for ourselves what the truth really is.

“Ella Fitzgerald- Summertime”. youtube.com. YouTube. 8 December 2010.

Lister, Tom. WikiLeaks lists sites key to U.S. security”. CNN. 6 December 2010. 7 December 2010.

May, Frank. “The exemplary chronicler of an African tragedy”. Books Blog. 8 December 2010.

Major, Ann Marie. “The Jimirro Center for the Study of Media Influence”. College of Communication. 8 December 2010

“Niki Minaj: Your Love Video”. hiphoplead.com. HipHopLead. 8 December 2010.

“WikiLeaks: Clear and Present Danger” Fox News. 6 December 2010. 7 December 2010.