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A Comparison between the Roles of Society in the Process of Self-Realization Portrayed in Two Books: Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Kate Chopin's The Awakening
Word Count: 903
What is the role of society in the process of self-realization as presented in Heart of Darkness and The Awakening The role that society plays in Heart of Darkness and The Awakening are strikingly different In the former novel a concise idea is presented stipulating what it means to be a realized person while in the latter we find many examples each contrasting the other of realized people Conrads realization holds society in its center while Chopins many examples interact with society in a unique way To begin we must identify the afore mentioned ideas of self-realization What characterizes Conrads idea is of self-realization is the centrality of civilization to the process This is not to imply that this necessary condition is also sufficient for his base portrayal of Belgium shows that the existence of society does not imply its members are self-actualizing Similarly the natives throughout the story dwell in forms of society while they are depicted as being far from any notion of self-realization For Conrad to consider a person to be self-realizing that person needs to live in a self-realizing society or failing that act like it An example of this is the Chief Accountant residing in the Outer Station The favorable description that Marlow gives of him that he is the only person in the companys ivory operation that accomplishes anything and that the quarters he keeps are clean shows that he is functioning is a civil fashion in spite of his location This necessity of a self-realizing society also explains why Belgium is not considered a place conducive to realization for it is a society in total ignorance of its countrys plundering of Africa under the guise of civilizing imperialism Britains society the archetype of civilized society Conrad argues is the only grounds for self-realization This contrasts the negative view we are given of the ironically titled pilgrims Who although they come from a society with the potential
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