The idea that Western Europe and the nations founded by Europeans (especially the United States) were agents of a superior civilization is increasingly targeted for criticism in the first decades of the twentieth century. In your essay,1) summarize the critiques of Western civilization found in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Reed’s articles on World War I, and Cesaire’s, Discourse on Colonialism, and then2) undertake a comparative analysis of the three arguments. A good summary (#1) will include the main points being made (whether directly or by the way a particular story is told or a particular image is constructed) and cite specific passages that illustrate or support these main points. An effective comparative analysis (#2) will discuss similarities and differences in these author’s representations of “civilization” and then evaluate their effectiveness as arguments. To evaluate these arguments, simply answer the following questions - which, if any, do I find persuasive, and why? As arule of thumb, you will probably want to devote about a page each to your summaries and use the remaining 1-2 pages for your analysis.
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- Spring '19
- Tom Pope