Narration Styles in The Collector of John Fowless and Heart of Darkness of Joseph Conrad

Everyone has secrets, some of them we share with our best friends and others we can take them to the grave, but they all have something in common, that they present a halo of mystery and concealment. A similar phenomenon occurs in literature with the enigmatic figure of the narrator. On one hand, it has the power to tell us a story in great detail or on the other hand, it can use different literary techniques to hide us information and make us distrust it, as we can see in the novels The Collector of John Fowless and Heart of Darkness of Joseph Conrad.

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 The narrator is a key piece in the narrative as Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle well say in chapter ‘7. Narrative’ of the book An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory: ‘Our understanding of a text is pervaded by our sense of the character, trustworthiness and objectivity of the figure who is narrating’[1]. Also, they add that narrators are ‘linguistic fabrications, textual creatures’[2] that gradually reveal the plot and create excitement in the reader.
Reading is an active task. Readers have to sharpen the senses because, as Frank Kermode argues in the chapter ‘Secrets and narrative sequence’ in Essays in fiction 1971-82, ‘stories as we know them begin as interpretations. They grow and change on the blank of the pages’[3]. In addition, mechanisms such as ambiguity, suspense, and secrecy are some of the elements that stand in the way of readers who want to master the text, because ‘readers tend to want to resolve suspense […] We want answers, and we want them soon. And there are all sorts of ways of terminating suspense, of closing it or resolving it’[4].
We can come across an omniscient narrator who knows perfectly the ins and outs of the characters and the action, as happens in the novel Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley, but… is the narrator always an authority figure in trust?
In the case of The Collector, we can ask this question since the narrator is multiple: the first part is narrated by Frederick Clegg, the second part through the diary which Miranda writes in his captivity and the end of the novel is again told by Clegg.
The existence of different narrators means that the same event is told from different perspectives and in the way, we will be able to fit all the pieces of the same puzzle. Therefore, it is the reader who must tie up loose ends of the story.
Frederick Clegg opens the novel The Collector relating his sick obsession with an art student called Miranda. The most surprising thing is that the boy is all the time justifying the kidnapping and he recounts it as an ordinary action. Clegg is an ambiguous character, William Empson defines the term ambiguity as ‘an intention to mean several things, a probability that one or other or both of two things has been meant, and the fact that a statement has several meanings’[5]. So, on the one hand, he kidnaps Miranda, he makes us believe that it is to satisfy his sexual desires, but his behaviour is totally unusual, he is dedicated to conquering his captive by buying everything she wants. Couldn’t Clegg try to conquer Miranda in a more politely or try to suppress his wishes? This aspect of the novel is a mystery, as well as the identity of the boy which keeps the reader hooked on the story.
The story is revealed little by little, because in the second part it is Miranda, through her diary, who narrates her version of the story, filling in the fictional gaps that Clegg has left. Miranda, being locked up, loses track of time, which means that we do not rely on all the events she tells. This also implies that the perception of reality is subjective. The fact that Miranda is captive remains as a secret to the other characters, her parents, for example, who do not know her whereabouts. Besides, Miranda hides her true personality from Clegg, she always feels repulsion for the boy, but either way, she will make him believe that she is falling in love with him, as if she were a victim of Stockholm syndrome so that she can lowers her guard and can escape. As a result, this would put us in agony and concern for what will follow for Miranda.
The Collector culminates with an open end, allowing the reading in doubt about what will Clegg’s next play be, he leaves the door open for a new kidnapping and new secrets.
Most of the time, when we are reading, our curiosity is generated through secrets, understood and explained in a better way for Bennet and Royle as:
 ‘Specific aspects of the language of a text, particular patterns of images or rhetorical figures that a reader may not even notice on a ‘consumerist’ reading, but that are nevertheless present and which can provoke a sense of mystery’[6].
            Then, the other novel full of intrigue and secrets is Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. It tells the story of Charlie Marlow, a navigator who is relating his shipmates his experiences from London to Africa in search of the puzzling ivory merchant named Mr. Kurtz.
             Mr. Kurtz’s character has been formed through people’s rumours. He becomes a mythical wise man surrounded by stories that will end up clashing with reality. He is portrayed as an over-natural being, who has unfortunately succumbed to a disease that keeps him on the boundaries between reality and madness.
              Linked to the darkness presented by the image of Mr. Kurtz, the novel, with its continuous digressions, offers a broad description of the African forest. As we read, this mystery increases as Marlow goes deep into the heart of darkness, wild Africa. The great cruelty that European settlers have developed towards Africans, as well as the conditions of extreme barbarism and misery that they suffer from, begins to take centre stage in the novel and Marlow feels that, as we can observe in the following passage:
 ‘I had turned to the wilderness really, not to Mr. Kurtz, who, I was ready to admit, was as good as buried. And for a moment it seemed to me as if I also were buried in a vast grave full of unspeakable secrets. I felt an intolerable weight oppressing my breast, the smell of the damp earth, the unseen presence of victorious corruption, the darkness of an impenetrable night’[7].
            We have to read the texts carefully in order to discover all the secrets that Conrad, Fowless and all the writers give us. Furthermore, we should be more open-minded and awake to learn about new experiences that literature implies, as Frank Kermode finally announces:
We glimpse the secrecy through the meshes of a text […] Hot for secrets, our only conversation may be with guardians who know less and see less than we can; and our sole hope and pleasure is in the perception of a momentary radiance, before the door of disappointment is finally shut on us[8].
Primary Works

John Fowles, The collector (London: Vintage, 2004) 
Joseph Conrad, edited by Owen Knowles and Allan H. Simmons, Heart of darkness (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2018)

Secondary Works

Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle, ‘7. Narrative’, ’29. Suspense’, ’34. Secrets’, An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory, 5th ed. (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016)
Frank Kermode, The Genesis of Secrecy (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England, 1979)
——–, ‘Secrets and narrative sequence’, Essays in fiction 1971-82 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983)
William Empson, Seven Types of Ambiguity, 3 th ed. (London: Chatto and Windus, 1963)

[1] Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle, ‘7. Narrative’, An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory, 5th ed. (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016), pp. 58-59.
[2] Ibid., p. 319.
[3] Frank Kermode ‘Secrets and narrative sequence’, Essays in fiction 1971-82 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983), p. 135.
[4] Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle, ’29. Suspense’, An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory, 5th ed. (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016), p. 277.
[5] William Empson, Seven Types of Ambiguity, 3th ed. (London: Chatto and Windus, 1963), p. 5.
[6] Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle, ‘34. Secrets’, An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory, 5th ed. (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016), p. 316.
[7] Joseph Conrad, ed. by Owen Knowles and Allan H. Simmons, Heart of darkness (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2018), p. 109.
[8] Frank Kermode, The Genesis of Secrecy (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England, 1979), pp. 114-115.

Evaluation of Joseph Juran: The Pareto System

What is the pareto principle?
Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist, he discovered that in any situation twenty percent of the inputs/activities are responsible for eighty percent of the outputs/results. Pareto first discovered this law in his own garden. He noticed that twenty percent of his pea pods, created eighty percent of the peas, as an economist he then drew parallels to Italy’s economy, discovering that eighty percent of the land belonged to twenty percent of the population. However, this principle was first introduced into manufacture by ‘Joseph Juran’. He thought to use paretos principle to determine where to focus efforts on the supply chain, by identifying where most problems occurred. Juran found that it is a principle that comes up repeatedly in almost every field.
 “Dr. Joseph Juran was the first to point out that what Pareto and others had observed was a “universal” principle—one that applied in an astounding variety of situations, not just economic activity, and appeared to hold without exception in problems of quality” (Juran, 2012)
Some simple examples of the pareto principle would be how you wear twenty percent of your  clothes, most of the time, and the other 80% you wear for special occasions or if everything else is in the wash or how most of the important information in this segment is in the first paragraph.
Why use the pareto principle?
Juran published the ‘quality control handbook’ which is a guide for how companies can implement this principle in different ways to increase quality and overall profit. Juran applied the pareto principle in his company and it began to show where the major influences were. Such as their top five products making 75% of their sales or a few employees accounting for the majority of the absences. The pareto principle is extremely useful recognizing where you need to focus your efforts. This applies on an individual level for employees, like where they lack in skill or training and on the company level, where they need to focus their sales.
“Pareto’s Law is dramatically effective when applied to selling and marketing situations – because it encourages a focus of activity and energy that usually produces very fast and substantial improvements” (
Even us students can use the pareto principle to our advantage. It is shown that the pareto principle has huge effects on time management skills. For example when studying for exams, because they never contain 100% of the content learned, by identifying which 20% of the content is most important, like which past questions appear more often you save time by focusing on those and worrying less about the 80% of content less likely to appear. And very common in group projects, 80% of the work done by 20% of the people.

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Downsides to the Pareto Principle.
Although the pareto principle offers great advantages in manufacture there are also some downsides to using the principle. The pareto charts are very easy to make to show the twenty percent of issues causing the major problems but they don’t show any insight into the causes. Further quality assurance methods are needed to investigate these areas in a more detailed manner, which may end up costing more to the company than the issue as in the firs place.
Pareto charts can only show qualitative data. It just shows how often an issue takes place. Because the variability of the chart changes so much it cannot be used to calculate an average or a mean or any other necessary data to calculate statistics. The lack of quantitative data means it’s impossible to test the values shown by the chart
“While a Pareto chart may show which problem is the greatest, it cannot be used to calculate how bad the problem is or how far changes would bring a process back into specification.” (Wilhite, 2017)
The future of the pareto principle
With developing AI and increasing development into industry 4.0 it’s theorised that the pareto principle will drive innovation to another level. There will be much greater amounts and variety of data to be compared to make AI’s smarter, so they could provide much more accurate analyses with various possible solutions and supply more data-driven questions to be addressed. It will see to it that the amount of errors will drop, and the 80/20 principle could start getting more efficient, decreasing to 90/10, or lower.
Another plan would be using 80/20 to divide the workload been humans and AI.
“We would employ human skills such as strategy, creativity, and collaboration for the 20 percent of tasks that drive 80 percent of business impact. Then, apply AI to the 80 percent of tasks that are routine-oriented and structured, making them ideal for automation.” (Murphy, 2019)
This method would allow humans to focus their efforts on the 20% on the information with the biggest impact and the AI could supply a bigger picture.

Juran (2012). Pareto Principle (80/20 Rule) & Pareto Analysis Guide | Juran. [online] Juran. Available at: [Accessed 6 Mar. 2020]. (2020). Pareto Principle: The 80-20 Rule – [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Mar. 2020]. (2020). Understanding the Pareto Principle (The 80/20 Rule) – BetterExplained. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Mar. 2020].
Wilhite, T. (2017). The Disadvantages of Pareto Analysis. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Mar. 2020].
Murphy, E. (2019). Artificial Intelligence, jobs and the Pareto Principle – Marchex. [online] Marchex. Available at: [Accessed 7 Mar. 2020].


Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad: Racism or Reality?

 Heart of Darkness was written in 1899 by Joseph Conrad, a Polish-German author. The novel captures a moment in a time of imperialism and colonialism; a time where racism was very prevalent among Europeans. Chinua Achebe deems Conrad’s Heart of Darkness as racist in his essay, “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.” While racism is, indeed, entrenched in the novel, Conrad seems to be exploring the limits of humanity and exposing the horrific treatment of the Congolese. During the eighteenth century, imperialism was viewed as a sign of progress. This idea of progress is shown through characters such as Marlow’s aunt, who believes colonialism to be a moral, civilizing mission. Conrad is inviting readers to question how far humanity has progressed if that is how people are treated. According to Matthew C. Connolly in “The Research Society for Victorian Periodicals,” it is “important to situate the extent and restrictions of Heart of Darkness’s anti-imperialist stance within the [Edinburgh] magazine’s broader narrative about empire” because the magazine was known for supporting “aggressive imperial policy” and “justifying war in the name of resource accumulation” (76). The story was first written by Conrad specifically for the Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine which had suspicious upper-middle class members, unwilling to accept change (Connolly 76). According to Connolly, Conrad was still establishing his reputation as an author, and saw an opportunity to gain recognition as a serious writer in a popular market while earning a living (77). The magazine’s political values, at the time contradicted Conrad’s personal opinions. Indeed, Achebe raises some excellent points in  “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,” however, what Achebe may be failing to recognise, is that Conrad is exposing the effects of imperial progress and critiquing imperialism for being unjustifiably violent, despite the limitations of his time and culture. (307)

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 Certainly, Conrad represents Africa as a savage place without language, as Achebe suggests; however, he is exposing the effects of imperial progress. For example, Achebe says “Heart of Darkness projects the image of Africa as “the other world,” the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization” and “we are told that “going up that river was travelling back to the earliest beginning of the world. Is Conrad saying then that these two rivers are very different, one good, the other bad?” (15). I think what Achebe is missing is that readers are meant to see the parallel between the Congo and England. Furthermore, it was meant to imply that it was England who benefitted materially and economically from its colonial enterprise. So to say that one river is more useful than the other is accurate. England was exploiting the Congo as a place of trade by which the ivory, rubber, and other materials were exported to Europe. Achebe is troubled by Conrad’s representation of Africa as a savage place without language. Achebe’s points are that Africans are not depicted as they actually are; they are presented as passive recipients of colonization, who are incomprehensible, and dehumanized rather than complex human beings. Achebe wants to shine the light on that. For example, whenever the Congolese appear in the novella, they are just clapping hands or stamping feet, depicted as incomprehensible and puppet-like. Everything is always less than. The Africans are also depicted as incapable of communication, or at least the way the West can. When they do speak, it’s grunting or sounds and dialects, not a unique language they all speak. This is all troubling for Achebe. People have many discussions of Conrad and not about that the way he depicts Africans. He raises some excellent points about the concerns with depiction of Africa and the Congolese people. However, readers are meant to see the way Europeans viewed Africans. Indeed, the depiction of Africans in Heart of Darkness is racist, but Conrad intentionally wrote that way to demonstrate the way Africans were viewed by Europeans at that time, ultimately demonstrating the effects of imperial progress (363).

Does the author share the same opinions and experiences as the narrator? No, Conrad is demonstrating the violence and mistreatment of the Congolese, as well as the attitudes of people in the eighteenth century through the narrators. Achebe contends that, “Conrad appears to go to considerable pains to set up layers of insulation between himself and the moral universe of his story. He has, for example, a narrator behind a narrator” (19). Conrad had actually been there and done similar things. So in this sense, it could appear he is deflecting his own thoughts. However, his experiences in Africa were really quite different from the narrators. Harry White and Irving L. Finston point out in “The Two River Narratives in Heart of Darkness,” Conrad did not voyage on the same river in Africa that Marlow took (1). In fact, there were many well-established settlements and people along the way up the Roi des Belges on Conrad’s voyage according to Sherry, which indicates “it was nothing like the “mysterious and dangerous journey” Marlow undertakes, since the Congo was not a “deserted stretch of water with an occasional station ‘clinging to the skirts of the unknown’” (qtd. in White and Finston 2). Conrad portrayed a terrible reality of the European exploitation of the Congo. For example, Conrad not only forgoes any impressionistic or vague formulations, but he makes it clear to his readers that he is doing so: “To speak plainly, he [Kurtz] raided the country” There is no fogginess at these points in the narrative” (White and Finston 7). While Conrad may have admired explorers to some extent, “he felt the desire for riches could be redeemed if it resulted in mutually beneficial trade which colonial and imperial powers could establish round the globe if they were prepared to institute and maintain sound and fair commercial policies and administrative methods” (White and Finston 37). What Conrad “utterly abhorred was riches acquired by simply looting people and their land for greed, and using violence which presumed itself to be more civilized than any in human history” (White and Finston 37). According to White and Finston, Conrad claims the “moral atmosphere” of Heart of Darkness is that the novella reveals what happens when there is no “honourable reciprocity of services” and that the “abandonment of those principles lies at the heart of darkness that overtook Africa after the white men conquered it” (38). For example, “the savagery of Africa” is considered to be “largely responsible for getting the better of Kurtz when in fact Conrad showed, in line with his themes regarding trade, conquest, and looting, that the fateful decisions Kurtz makes reflect what the Europeans, and not the natives, were doing in Africa” (White and Finston, 38). Clearly, Conrad is critiquing imperialism for being unjustifiably violent based on the myth that Europeans are superior and, therefore, have the right to show the Congolese the “light,” when really it is about exploitation.

Indeed, Conrad could have just written the facts of his voyage in an autobiography, but he wanted people to know these horrible attitudes the Europeans had toward Aficans. He wants it recorded that the colonizers are blatantly murdering people. But, Conrad also lives in a time that he has to accept colonization. Conrad is a product of his time, that way of speaking about non-Westerners was normal. Conrad was part of the movement that criticized the practices in the Congo. Is Achebe perhaps being too critical of it? If readers simply look at literature as a work of that time, then it is not, but rather a way of understanding progress which should be discussed. How possible was it for Conrad to say imperialism is immoral and be the lone voice in that? It was a dominant idea that colonialism was a good thing. Those racist words were the words people would recognize and understand in that time. Without the descriptors, would the book have had the same effect? Undoubtedly, Achebe made some compelling points in  “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,” however, what Achebe may be failing to recognise, is that Conrad is exposing the effects of imperial progress and critiquing imperialism for being unjustifiably violent despite the limitations of his time and culture.

Works Cited

Achebe, Chinua. “An image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.” The Massachusetts Review 57, no. 1, 2016, pp. 14-27.

Connolly, Matthew. “”But the narrative is not gloomy”: Imperialist Narrative, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, and the Suitability of Heart of Darkness in 1899.” Victorian Periodicals Review, 49, no. 1, 2016, pp. 76-99.

Conrad, Joseph. “Heart of Darkness” Heart of Darkness, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 1999.

White, Harry and Irving L. Finston. “The Two River Narratives in Heart of Darkness.” Conradiana, 42, no. ½, 2010, pp. 1-43. 


Franz Joseph Haydn

Franz Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn was born a peasant in the village of Rohrau, Austria on March 31, 1732. His father, a wagon maker by trade, was musically inclined. He often played the harp while his wife, Haydn’s mother, sang along. The second child of twelve in a peasant home left Haydn little chance of attending school, however young Franz’s early showings of musical ability caused his cousin to take notice and fund his education to be given at St. Stephen’s (Franz Joseph Haydn Biography, NAXOS). At age eight he was given a choirboy position in a Viennese cathedral. From a very early age Haydn was moving up in the world based on his own merit. Social mobility in his day and age was relatively unheard of, but from the very beginning Franz Joseph Haydn was proving to be exceptional.

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For several years Haydn remained a choirboy with the cathedral, until one day he found himself out on the streets with little more than the clothes on his back. Puberty had altered the boyish timbre in his voice and he was unfit to remain in the boys’ choir. Soon, however, Haydn found work as an accompanist to Niccolo Porpora, an Italian composer. Niccolo taught Haydn Italian, voice, and schooled him in musical composition (Franz Joseph Haydn Biography). Haydn and Porpora really began to find success as aristocrats and royalty began to hire them for entertainment at all types of events. Haydn began to find more than just status, he began to generate significant revenue (Halley Tsai).
Soon Haydn moved on apart from Porpora and was briefly hired by Baron Karl Josef von Furnberg. It was under this patronage that he composed his earliest string quartets. At 28 Haydn found a more substantial position when he was hired as music director by Count Ferdinand Maximilian von Morzin (Basic Repertoire List – F.J. Haydn).
One of the biggest turning points in Haydn’s life came in 1761 when Prince Pal Antál Esterházy hired him as assistant music director. The following year he was promoted to head director, or Kapellmeister. Haydn served as Kapellmeister under three princes in this household, finding himself with overwhelmingly demanding duties and responsibilities. The second prince, Prince Miklós Jozsef Esterházy, was the biggest musical advocate of the three. He spent a fortune building up a musical establishment second to none in his day. Haydn found himself in a very publically demanding position. Haydn worked to not only compose music, but also to teach his music as well as other’s pieces. He was in turn responsible for performing music, maintaining the library of music, keeping up the instrument collection, coaching singers, and perform the duties of an administrative figure when it came to issues and disputes among musicians and entertainers (Basic Repertoire List – F.J. Haydn).
During the time of Haydn’s patronage by the princes he composed roughly 83 works. Many of these works were string quartets. Haydn wrote many of these quartets in sets that shared common themes and elements. Some of these sets are as follows: The Sun Quartets (1772), The Russian Quartets (1781), The Prussian Quartets (1787), and many, many more. Many of these later quartets were written to feature his third prince and patron Prince Nikolaus Esterházy. Nikolaus played a bowed instrument called the baryton. This instrument was also able to be plucked, and was looked at rather critically by later scholars and critics. In addition to the quartets, Haydn also composed a significant amount of pieces for two violins and a cello as well as some 126 baryton trios (Franz Joseph Haydn Biography, NAXOS).
Haydn did not always enjoy the seclusion that came with working for the princes of Esterháza, but he did enjoy the unique privilege of being allowed to market his compositions to publishers and receive commission. Many composers being patronized during the 18th century did not have this luxury (Basic Repertoire List – F.J. Haydn). During the early to mid 1790’s Haydn joined forces with an enterprising, young English violinist, Johann Peter Salomon. It was alongside Salomon, in London, that Haydn composed some of his works considered masterpieces. Several of which are commonly known as The London Symphonies. (Basic Repertoire List – F.J. Haydn). His use of crescendo, accents, abrupt dynamic changes, modulation, and other such innovative technique set the precedent for many following composers (Forney, Kristine). While working for the princes Haydn published a total of 125 trios and 19 operas (Basic Repertoire List – F.J. Haydn).
The most famous of Haydn’s symphonies, Symphony No. 94, is often referred to as the “Surprise Symphony.” It became apparent to Haydn that members in the audience were falling asleep mid-performance. As a remedy for this problem, he composed this symphony utilizing a forceful brass section composed of French horns and trumpets along with tympani percussion. Haydn wrote the beginning to be mild and peaceful. Dynamically the introduction was relatively piano. And then, seemingly without warning, Haydn wrote in an orchestral hit that brought the dynamic level abruptly to forte in an attempt to jar sleeping listeners to wake. Such dynamic change was later reflected in Beethoven’s works (Forney, Kristine).
Although Haydn had passed the age of sixty his output of music showed no signs of slowing. After his work in London, Haydn returned to Austria and began to write oratorio. The Creation and The Seasons were two famous works that portrayed scenes of nature. An avid hunter and nature lover, Haydn often incorporated themes of nature into his music (Franz Joseph Haydn biography, Essortment Articles). Haydn was notably one of the most productive writers of all time, putting out an immense number or musical works throughout his life. Haydn wrote career number 107 symphonies, 68 string quartets, 62 piano sonatas, 43 piano trios as well as the 125 trios written during his work with the princes, and 19 operas(Basic Repertoire List – F.J. Haydn).
This level of proficiency in that day was rivaled only by the young composer Mozart, who was actually a good friend of Haydn. Haydn stumbled across Mozart while observing a lesson of Mozart’s with another student. Haydn was stunned by the musical genius and quickly befriended him. The two began to become involved in each other’s music writing and even suggested ideas on occasion that would better each other’s writing. Haydn even admitted his younger companion’s superiority in writing opera (Franz Joseph Haydn Biography, NAXOS).
Haydn and Mozart remained friends until parted by the death of Mozart. At age 77, Haydn followed his friend in death on May 31, 1809. It was Mozart’s last composition A Requiem that was performed at Haydn’s own funeral (Halley Tsai). Haydn’s works are not as often performed today as some of his later contemporaries, because they are not complex in nature; however, the originality of his works are without question. Haydn paved the way in style and technique for his future composers. Haydn not only influenced the minds of the composers but also was an instructor to the musicians and performers, both instrumental and vocal, that would play the music. Haydn is often remembered as a self-made man, a true example of “rags to riches.” He is remembered as an innovator and an instructor totally unique and original in all areas of his life and work.
Forney, Kristine. The Enjoyment of Music An Introduction to Perceptive Listening. Boston: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007. Print
“Franz Joseph Haydn.” Academic Talent Development Program. Halley Tsai, 1999. Web. 30 Sep. 2009. .
“Franz Joseph Haydn Biography. Listen to Classical Music by Franz Joseph Haydn.” Classical Music – Streaming Classical Music. NAXOS, 2009. Web. 30 Sep. 2009.
“Basic Repertoire List – F.J. Haydn.” Classical Net. 2009. Web. 30 Sep. 2009. .
“Franz Joseph Haydn biography.” Essortment Articles: Free Online Articles on Health, Science, Education & More.. Elaine Schneider, 2002. Web. 30 Sep. 2009.

Biography of Prof. Joseph Kahamba


Dr. Joseph Kahamba is an Associate Professor in Neurosurgery at Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences (MUCHS) in Dar es Salaam, a Consultant Neurosurgeon and acting Head of the Neurosurgical department at Muhimbili Orthopedics and Neurosurgical Institute. He holds a Doctor of Medicine (MD) of the University of Timisoara-Romania, a Master of Medicine (MMed) in General Surgery of the University of Dar es Salaam, a Master of Science (MSc) in Neurosurgery of the Universities of Zurich, Ulm and Dar es Salaam (a sandwich program), and FCS-ECSA (Fellow of the College of Surgeons of East, Central & Southern Africa) and MBA (Master of Business Administration) program of the University of Dar es Salaam.
Born September 1 1964 in Bukoba, Tanzania, Prof. Joseph Kahamba was raised in a hard working middle class family with Ten siblings–four brothers and six sister. His mother was a farmer and father a Secondary teacher. He grew up mainly in three kind of environment, Gangster, Quiet, Energetic and loud .During his childhood years his family lived first in Katoke and then shifted to Ishozi, Bukoba.

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When they were living in Katoke he had many friends. He liked making friends. He was with them all the time. They went to many places and parties together, and they even went to the Disco or play soccer together and he really enjoyed this these moments. His best friends ware Stanley, Mjuni, Peter, Ester and Salma. He really enjoy be with them, because they were so nice that sometimes talk about all in his life, and when he had a problem they always help him.
Childhood influences:
The first book He remember reading for fun was called ‘Maisha Yetu’. He probably read it three times a day. He also liked Greek mythology since he was in middle school. He used to read mostly fantasy and science fiction in high school, and then got interested in mysteries when He got to Universities. Since his father was a teacher. He grew up in a very artistic family.
His Dad was an inspiration professionally and his Mum was always there to talk to. His Dad taught him many values that define who he is now — the values of honesty, integrity and sincerity. They were teachers to him and his mother was always scout him to school when he was very young. She used to read for him stories every night that he can remember many of the stories and have even got quite a few of the books she read to him. Her Mum had a sing-song voice that he once told her but she thought he was criticising her and she got a bit humpy with him. His dad read to them when we were older but he helped them a lot with writing and studying. When sitting together with his father, they spent long hours talking about the world, politics, books and football. His father was also very funny, very good at jokes and could speak several languages. All this influenced his carrier.
He received his primary education at Katoke Primary School between 1970 and 1973; his middle school education at Kanyigo School from 1974 up to 1978. Durring his Primary education his favorite subject were Science (especially biology and chemistry!), He loved them and he was never horrible at any subject, but he definitely hated History because he never liked writing essays since he didn’t find it interesting. His favorite teacher was his Math’s teacher Ms.Salome, when he was in the fifth grade. As he described her as being very loving, caring, inspiring and almost like a mother to them.
After graduating at Kanyigo School in (1978) he was selected among 50 best students and been transferred to a Seminary government Secondary School (Kashasha Seminary) which it was 56 Kilometers’ away from his virrage.
In 1978, Prof.Kahamba enrolled to Kahororo Seminary Secondary School for (O & A-level) education between 1978 to 1984. While there much had happened routinely in the Seminary, each day had its own rhythm and he also noted that the seminarians had a varied schedule. They used to begin each day in the chapel, with either Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours at 7:30 a.m. After breakfast,Which sometimes made him to sleep in class .But in class He was often knowing how to do complex math problems before the concept had even been introduced to his class.
In his second year the young Prof.Kahamba participated in student body government as Sports Minister in my second year. In this time, He worked for 2 years as the Scout President at a School camp. He liked most about school were the after-school athletic activities and least were Mandatory attendance and Learning superfluous subjects. Also he often knew how to do complex math problems before the concept had even been introduced to his class. He also did some extracurricular activities by Participating in Gym, Sports and Society clubs. He engage in the social life with other students mostly in parties.
In 1984 his family returned to Ishozi, and Prof.Kahamba within a short time graduated from high school in the first division.
In 1984, He enrolled at the University of Timisoara-Romania for his undergraduate study in Medicine (MD).In his first year in medical school he had been participating in new types of medical research. Since arriving in April he was been able to participate in two different research projects – one qualitative and one quantitative.
In University, He was also involved in few outside activities. While there, and to enhance his meager income, He organized a Helping Hand Club and even served as its Vice president. After a handful of jobs , He finally went for different Projects to work for a large investment films. There He continued the trend of just meeting his potential, only taking on new challenges when enything was brought to his attention that it could be perfect opportunity for him.
After graduating and reserved the certificate in Doctor of Medicine (MD) of the University of Timisoara-Romania, He then went back to his hometown and worked as Pharmacist assistance for the village local Institute Dispensary and a few Pharmacies in and around his hometown.
In the meantime, He spent 1 year before Master school as a Soldier at Kanyigo Military, Bukoba serving for his county. During his time there, they moved into different largest military in the county for training. They also moved into the new country military base of Lugalo. One of thing he learned was simple. It doesn’t matter if you can [do something] or not, you will. Just get it done.
Going Master school had always been in the back of his mind, and he finally headed again across the Ocean to enroll in a Master of Science (MSc) in Neurosurgery at the Universities of Zurich in (1990). Early in 1992, he was transferred as a medical student to Zurich Medical cumpus to gain greater clinical experience, were he become Senior Laboratory Assistance at the University.
He began his career as an ICU fellow at the Katoke Hospital Center where he worked in a variety of critical care settings before coming to the Clinical Center in 1999. At the Clinical Center he began his career as a Senior Clinical Researcher in the Medical Intensive Care Unit. His clinical research specializations included health behavior and health disparities research with special emphasis on methodology and measurement in end-of-life care, integrative health and vulnerable populations.
After that, His wife and him moved to Bugando, Mwanza. Were they lived there for two years and managed to teach Bugando Medical University for almost 1 year. Then they had two daughters, Eunice and Nelly, and we moved back home to Dar es salaam. were he enrolled for MBA (Master of Business Administration) program at the University of Dar es Salaam.While there he used his extra time to teach at Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences (Neurosurgery).
Professional Recognition
In November 2003, Prof. Kahamba was recognized by the Tanzanian Society of Orthopedics with the Dedicated Service Award. This award honors dedicated volunteer service to the Society marked by his outstanding performance.
Between 2000 and 2006,He served as President of the Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) at Muhimbili Orthopedics and Neurosurgical Institute. The Association that aimed to compliment the government efforts in reaching its desired objective of promoting the health and wellbeing of all Tanzanians.
Marking the 45th Anniversary Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) in 2008.Professor Joseph.F. Kahamba was presented with MAT Fellowship certificates for their distinguished contributions to the promotion of the medical profession and nurturing of the Medical Association of Tanzania.
In 1990, He met a pretty woman at a Staff Board meeting. He could feel that she was the right one for his eternal life. In 1991, He married Dr. Godelive Kagashe,Lecture in College of Health Sciences (MUCHS) in Dar es Salaam when he was 27.The wedding took place in Church, one month from his 28th birthday, Gogelive was 25, who spent her childhood in Morogoro, Tanzania. They have four childrens,One boy, Innocent 21 and three Daughters, Eunice 23, Nelly 22 and Karen 17. Eunice lives in the Mikocheni area. Shee works for a Clothing business company. Whenever they visit each other, they have a great time and many laughs. She also guides, teaches , and has been a great role model.Nelly is a Postgraduate in Medicine at Bugando Hospital,Mwanza.While Innocent is undergraduate in Civil engineering at Arthi University.
When he was young, He sometimes did something very horrible that he then regret doing. One at which he would get other children to laugh at someone. He made fun of that person and got others to join in.
In the rare hours when he’s not at Work, He enjoy running, reading, watching news. He’s very excited about moving back to his village in next year’s.
About his Haya and Christianity background he said “it’s important because it’s how and why my parents behaved in the way they did. If I try to break that down into exactly what, all I come up with is things like the particular way in which they told stories about their family and their childhoods.
At age of 50, He honestly think that reading has been one of the pleasant constants in my life. Reading truly feeds his soul. Looking ahead 20-30 years, He will fear losing his eyesight more than any other senior ailment. What the heck, he could enjoy reading The Adventures.
Among of the worst or most embarrassing experience of his career as had been to identify his younger brother’s body at a local municipal morgue.
Employment and Professional Activities
1986-1987 Research Laboratory , University of Timisoara-Romania.
1988-1990 Postdoctoral fellowship, Institute for Advanced Study, Mwanza.
1991-1992 Senior Laboratory Assistance, University of Zurich.
1996-1997 Assistant Professor, Bugando University, Mwanza.
1997-1998 Associate Professor, University of Dar-es-salaam.
1998- Professor, University of Muhimbili, Dar-es-salaam.
1997-1998 Staff of Katoke Hospital Laboratory,Bukoba.
1998-2000 Director of MOI Physical Laboratory
2002-2004 Head of the Neurosurgical department at Muhimbili Orthopaedic and
Neurosurgical Institute.
2000-2006 President of the Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT).
2007- Associate Professor in Neurosurgery at Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences (MUCHS),Dar-es-salaam

Joseph Schumpeter’s Theory of Competitive Elitism

Austrian political and economic theorist Peter Schumpeter introduced his theory of competitive elitism in Part IV of his book, ‘Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy’.[1] In this essay, I will argue that Schumpeter’s use of a strawman as a foundation for competitive elitism, as well as the incomplete evaluation of the theory, begets long-term issues in practice. Schumpeter’s theory builds upon the works of ‘classical elitists’, such as Le Bon and Mosca. Le Bon dismissed majoritarian rule by analysing crowd psychology and mob rule;[2] and Mosca argued that democracy, “always has been, and always will be, exercised by organized minorities.”[3] Using these ideas, along with expanding upon Weber’s pessimism on the subject, Schumpeter introduces competitive elitism: an intrinsically minimalist concept in which elites compete for power, but are not questioned after they have been elected (until the next election).[4] Completive elitism is propped up as “another theory of democracy” to replace the “classical doctrine of democracy.” Thus, the validity of the theory is critically assessed vis-a-vis this logical fallacy. Second, the efficiency and long-term validity of competitive elitism are analysed and evaluated. Finally, quantitative data is used to argue the unsustainability of competitive elitism in the long run. 

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    Schumpeter introduces the classical doctrine of democracy as the “eighteenth-century philosophy of democracy”[5] in which the elected polity makes decisions in order to obtain the “common good”[6] through the “will of the people.”[7] This is a clear reference to Rousseau’s “Social Contract”, where he states that the end goal of a state is to realise the common good of the people, which is to be guided by the “general will.”[8] Schumpeter promptly dismisses the classical doctrine of democracy by illustrating the lack of a common good in society.[9] He further elaborates and criticises utilitarian philosophers— who would argue that a common good may simply be a good which generates the maximum utility (for example, health) for the people— by stating that people would still have differing opinions on the subject (vis-a-vis health: vaccinations, vasectomies etc.).[10] Firstly, Schumpeter combines the ideas of two vastly different schools of thought into this one convoluted theory[11] which he claims is the “classical doctrine of democracy.”[12] This is especially distressing considering Schumpeter considers himself to be a ‘scientist’, yet he fails to substantiate the validity of the classical doctrine of democracy. Secondly, Schumpeter’s criticism of utilitarian philosophers is almost paradoxical considering his ideas of democracy seem to line up with many from the utilitarian school of thought. For instance, John Stuart Mill is seen by some as an “elitist democrat”,[13] as he was a proponent of plural voting, believing that the electorate should be allocated a certain number of votes based on their value to society—landowners, taxpayers, and educated citizens having more votes.[14] While not exactly the same, both theorists seem to believe that some people should have more of a say in a society than others. Furthermore, Saward argues that Schumpeter also shares similarities with other utilitarian such as Bentham and James Mill in that both schools believe that “men are self-seeking”.[15] Accordingly, Schumpeter’s strawman argument,[16] built upon a one-dimensional analysis of utilitarianism combined with Rousseau’s ideas leaves the basis for the introduction of his “another theory of democracy” in disarray.

 Throughout Part IV of Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Schumpeter argues fervently against participatory democracy, criticising its ineffective nature.[17] However, in the long run, competitive elitism’s ‘efficiency’ also seems to fade. The primary reason for this can be analysed through Rousseau’s works. Rousseau argued that participatory democracy results in the increased education of not only the electorate but also the government.[18] As the electorate gets more and more involved in the polity, they also get educated on the methods and issues. Rousseau also argues that increased participation, especially on a local level, makes the average voter become more attached to the community,[19] which inevitably also reduces social unrest. On the other hand, Schumpeterian elitism leads to a disconnect between the ‘elites’ and the electorate as well as disincentivises efficiency in the polity. This is because the political elites have no reason to transfer their information to the average voter, in fact, the opposite would more often help them stay in power longer. This creates an incompetent system, plagued by nepotism and cronyism. Schumpeter believed that “once they [electorate] have elected an individual political action is his business and not theirs.”[20] The presence of such accountability of the polity is why, as opposed to those who consider western democracies to be in line with Schumpeterian competitive elitism, I argue that they are more of a mix between participatory democracy and democratic elitism. Hence, I would claim that the Bolsheviks in the Soviet Union were much more in line with competitive elitism. Albeit not competing for the votes of the common man, there was significant competition between the Bolshevik intelligentsia at the start of the revolution. However, by Brezhnev’s tenure, the polity had descended into an unmitigated disaster, bedevilled by stagnation and corruption due to a lack of knowledge transfer and decreasing levels of competition.[21] Thus, the Schumpeterian thought seems to be plagued by that which he accused democracies of: inefficiency. However, it would be incorrect to say competitive elitism does not exist in functioning liberal democracies. It is clear that the practicality of Schumpeter’s theory makes it ever-present in many societies; however rarely so in its pure form, as that would either result in inefficiency and/or social unrest.

 Schumpeter’s lack of substantiation for competitive elitism leaves a lot to be desired; therefore, the final assessment of Schumpeter’s competitive elitism is derived from quantitative data. The most recent poll[22] regarding political involvement is from the Pew Research Center, which conducted the polls from 20 May 2018 to 12 August 2018 in fourteen[23] different countries. Even though the title of the report claims that “many around the world are disengaged from politics,” the data shows us that a majority of those in the sample cared deeply about a lot of issues. Firstly, the fact that 78%[24] of people had voted implies that they cared enough about a particular issue in the polity to go out of their way and do something that they believe might affect it. When asked about specific issues, the data illustrates that the majority (>50%)[25] of the electorate care about every one of the issues, and if the Hungarian voters[26] are removed from the data, this majority becomes even greater. A Schumpeterian is likely to simply contest that while the voters might be passionate, their knowledge of the issues, or rather lack thereof, may result in wrong choices being made. In fact, some may claim that the high voter turnout/ passion for issue proves their point as more of the ‘non-elites’ are being involved in issues they may have no knowledge about. While these points may be accurate and reflect the short-term reality, the data is not present to prove the knowledge of the voters, but their passion. To maintain competitive elitism in the long term, the electorate must be content with staying out of the polity and other related matters. If, as the survey implies, there is a significant interest in these areas, the elitist society will definitely face civil unrest, and could also possibly be toppled. This has been seen in recent history in the Arab Spring, as well as in many Soviet satellite states.[27] It is however also important to note the limitations of this quantitative data. Firstly, more and/or different countries may show us completely different results. Additionally, more and different topics could have been inquired upon. The answer choices would also be more informative if instead of a simple yes/no, there was a scale from 1 to 10 in which the respondents could indicate the extent to which they care about a certain policy.

 In conclusion, this essay analyses and illustrates the flaws in Schumpeter’s theory of competitive elitism. This is accomplished by proving that Schumpeter created “the classical doctrine of democracy” out of thin air and then proceeded to fallaciously discredit it and introduce his “alternate theory”. Schumpeter’s superficial analysis of the effects of competitive elitism, more specifically, it’s efficiency in the polity, in the long run, is subsequently analysed and evaluated. Furthermore, quantitative data is presented in order to evaluate competitive elitism with participatory democracy. Within the framework of the question, other theories, such as representation, oligarchy, plutocracy could also be evaluated alongside the Schumpeterian school of democracy instead of participatory democracy.


Bacon, E. and Sandle, M. (2002). Brezhnev Reconsidered. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.1-2.

Green, J.E. (2010) ‘Three Theses on Schumpeter: Response to Mackie’. Political Theory, Vol. 38, p.271

Le Bon, G. (2017). Crowd. London: Taylor and Francis.

Letwin, Shirley. (1965). The Pursuit of Certainty. Cambridge University Press, p.306

Mill, John Stuart. (2012). Considerations on Representative Government. Dayboro: Emereo Pub, p.474

Mosca, G., Kahn, H. and Livingston, A. (1939). The Ruling Class (Element! di Scienza Politico). New York; London: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., p.326

Pateman, Carole. (2000). Participation and Democratic Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.17

Rousseau, J. and Griffith, T. (2013). The Social Contract. Ware: Wordsworth Editions Ltd.

Saward, Michael. 2007. Democracy. London: Routledge, p.60

Schumpeter, Joseph A. (2006). Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. New York: Routledge.

Wike, R. and Castillo, A. (2018). Political Engagement Around the World. [online] Pew Research Center,

[1] Schumpeter, Joseph A. (2006). Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. New York: Routledge.

[2] Le Bon, G. (2017). Crowd. London: Taylor and Francis.

[3] Mosca, G., Kahn, H. and Livingston, A. (1939). The Ruling Class (Element! di Scienza Politico). New York; London: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., p.326

[4] Schumpeter, Joseph A. (2006)

[5] Schumpeter, Joseph A. (2006), p.247

[6] Ibid., p.250

[7] Ibid

[8] Rousseau, J. and Griffith, T. (2013). The Social Contract. Ware: Wordsworth Editions Ltd.

[9] Schumpeter, Joseph A. (2006), pp.250-252

[10] Ibid., p.252

[11] Saward, Michael (2007). Democracy. London: Routledge, p.60

[12] Green, J.E. (2010) ‘Three Theses on Schumpeter: Response to Mackie’. Political Theory, Vol. 38, p.271

[13] Letwin, Shirley. (1965). The Pursuit of Certainty. Cambridge University Press, p.306

[14] Mill, John Stuart. (2012). Considerations on Representative Government. Dayboro: Emereo Pub, p.474

[15] Saward, Michael (2007), pp.60-65

[16] Pateman, Carole. (2000). Participation and Democratic Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.17

[17] Schumpeter, Joseph A. (2006), pp.250-283

[18] Rousseau, J. (2013), p.12

[19] Ibid.

[20] Schumpeter, Joseph A. (2006), p.295

[21] Bacon, E. and Sandle, M. (2002). Brezhnev Reconsidered. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.1-2.

[22] Wike, R. and Castillo, A. (2018). Political Engagement Around the World. [online] Pew Research Center,

[23] The fourteen countries are Argentina, Kenya, Brazil, Mexico, Greece, Nigeria, Hungary, Philippines, Indonesia, Poland, Israel, South Africa, Italy and Tunisia.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Far lower interest in issues than any other country.

[27] 1953 East German uprising, 1956 Hungarian uprising, 1956 Poznan protests, 1970 Polish protests, 1988 Polish strikes, 1989 Romanian revolution, 1989 Czechoslovak Velvet revolution.

Feminist and Marxist Perspectives in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness could be said to be written during a period of change, as the world was transitioning from the end of the Victorian age into the beginning of the Modern age. This novella is considered to be one of the greatest fictitious writings in the English language that follows the narrations of the character Marlow through his travels through the Congo River into the Congo Free State in the ‘Heart of Africa’. Heart of Darkness is a widely-dense novel which can be studied from various critical perspectives, such as feminism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, and many more.

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This essay focuses on analysing Heart of Darkness from two different critical approaches, mainly a Marxist approach developed through the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels as well as a feminist approach and sets out to discover both strengths and limitations for each approach. Marxist critics view “literary works as reflections of the social institutions from which they originate”1 .This means that Marxist critics look not only at the “sociology of literature , but also take interest in how novels get published, and whether they mention the working class”2. A feminist approach looks at inequality, in this case in a novel from the viewpoint of feminism, or feminist politics. Feminist literature criticism “suggests that women in literature have been previously presented as objects from a male perspective.”3. Conrad’s novella can be analysed from both of these approaches as they help to delve even further into the meaning of his writing.

As previously mentioned, this essay sets out to weigh the strengths and limitations of both a Marxist and feminist approach. This will be carried out by providing quotations and evidence from within the novel to support these approaches and conclude with my own personal opinion of each argument.

Marxist literary criticism looks at literary works from the social institutions in which they originate. Theorists of Marxism believe that ‘even literature stems from a specific ideological function, which is primarily based on the background and ideas of the author’, in this case Joseph Conrad. From researching about Conrad’s life, we are able to find that his native country, Berdichev, in the Stolen Lands of Ukraine 4 had been conquered by imperial powers, namely Russia and this could be argued from a Marxist approach as to why he sympathised with other conquered natives. For example, in his novella, Conrad empathizes with the Native Africans and describes their troubles to be extremely tragic, whilst also outrightly condemning the ‘noble’ aims of the European colonists, therefore creating the impression of white superiority. In addition to this, it is believed that due to his own travels through Africa had a keen interest for voyages, travels and the discovery of new land; this is apparent in Marlow’s narration of Congo. Lastly, it is also believed that many of Marlow’s narrations within the novella were written as an account of incidents that took place within Conrad’s own travels through Africa.

1 Andritolion, Marxist literary criticism, 

2 Pierre Valliéreres, Marxism: White Niggers of America by Pierre Vallières,

3 Jone Johnson Lewis, Feminist Literary Criticism,

4 The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Joseph Conrad,

Through this knowledge of Conrad’s biography, it is seen that the Marxist approach can be seen as a strength in this sense as Marlow’s upbringing reflects in his works and so therefore his writing becomes not only more believable to the reader but also more practical.

A major part of the Marxist approach also concerns itself with class division, most notably the rich ‘capitalist’ class and the poor exploited ‘proletariat’ class, creating a common ground of the rich to easily exploit the poor. Marxist writers therefore frown upon this treatment of the proletariat exploitation and instead aim to create an equal society.

In Heart of Darkness Conrad illustrates how the imperialistic powers of Europe exploit the Africans to increase their own wealth; creating a visibly apparent class division between the Europeans and the Africans. Marxism is clearly demonstrated within the novel as we, the readers are narrated the story of the exploitation of the natives by the European, eliciting the theme of man’s inhumanity to man. Marlow’s repetition of the greed of the bourgeoisie pilgrims as ‘despicable’ is attest to this theme. For example, Marlow questions the presence of the fat man who is portrayed to be unfit to survive in Congo: “I couldn’t help asking him once what he meant by coming there at all. ‘To make money, of course. What do you think?’ he said scornfully” 5. This above quotation draws the parallel between exploitation and monetary gain, displaying how capitalism is essentially exploitative. Furthermore, from Conrad’s descriptive writing we learn through Marlow that Kurtz’s hands are ‘plump’ indicating the idea that he does not work as the natives who do work are both starving and dying and therefore it is logical to believe they would not have plump hands.

In addition to this, we find out that there is no even distribution of wealth within the society of Heart of Darkness, as even some white-Europeans are described to be poor. We are narrated that Kurtz’s engagement with his lover had been disapproved by her family as Kurtz “wasn’t rich enough”, denoting that Kurtz was not able to afford to marry above his class and therefore left for Congo in order for what we may assume, to obtain this level of wealth.

A strength of the Marxist literary approach in this case would be that it looks at society as a whole and takes into account its misdemeanour within a society and understands the problem of the class struggle. Through the Marxist approach, as readers we are clearly able to tell that there is a dominant class ruling and comprehend the reason behind this.

A limitation with the Marxist approach when looking at the power dynamics in society is that Marxist theory does not take into account the dynamics of human behaviour, such as selfishness and the desire to do better and reach the highest rank. It is installed in human nature that we will always crave to have more, even if that means at the expense of another human being. Marxism does not take classic human behaviour into account, and instead refers to an equal society where there is no desire to progress higher into the human ‘food chain’.


5. Conrad. J, pg. 13, Heart of Darkness

6. Tyson. L, pg. 83, Critical Theory: A User-Friendly Guide

7. Tyson. L, pg. 85, Critical Theory: A User-Friendly Guide

8. Conrad. J, pg. 99, Heart of Darkness

Feminist literary critics concerns itself with the way in which literature “reinforces or undermines the economic, political, social and psychological oppression of women”. 6

In addition to this, feminism criticism is also concerned with the exclusion of women from writing “unless the critical or historical point of view is feminist, there is a tendency to underrepresent the contribution of women writers”. 7


It is important to understand that Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is indeed a manly adventure, recounted and written by a man, and therefore it is a difficult subject to venture for feminist criticism. Thus, due to the structure of the novel, the female characters converse minimally as they are made to be in the background. Two of the three female characters are not even in Africa, making it exceedingly difficult to include them in much of the writing. Whilst this could be said to be a limitation to the feminist theory, as it leaves an underlying thought in the readers mind that perhaps Conrad is not opposing feminism, but he finds there to be no need for those characters to exist in the rest of the novella, it does raise a few queries. For instance, it could be argued from a feminist viewpoint that Conrad believed there was no need for there to be female characters in Africa, for there is no need for them to be within that continent as it is a male’s job. Additionally, the verbal narration of women throughout makes it seem as though Conrad is purposefully neglects their sex.

Accordingly, the power relation created by men towards women could essentially create a feminist approach as it establishes the argument of patriarchal and imperialist ideologies. Therefore, both explanations of feminist literary criticism defined by Tyson within her writing of Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide can be used in reference to the feminist approach taken by Conrad in Heart of Darkness. A feminist reading of the novel displays that the marginal status of women is yet again another example of European male domination during this period. Firstly, women are oppressed as they are seen as belongings, as the male characters look down upon them as they are their property. This view of man over woman is apparent in the way that Marlow explains Kurtz, “You should have heard the disinterred body of Mr. Kurtz saying, ‘My Intended’” 8

The use of the personal pronoun within the above quote continues further into the novella as Kurtz’s lover is described in various parts as “my Intended”, “my ivory”, “my station”, “my river”, as though everything belonged to him, and she herself was not a person, illustrating the oppression through possession of women to men.

Furthermore, Tyson’s latter explanation of feminist criticism is also apparent as we see a lack of women characters within the novel, with there only being mention of three women in the text, namely Marlow’s aunt, Kurtz’s fiancée and Kurtz’s Amazon lover. Not only are these characters seen but not heard within the text, Marlow narrates “it’s queer how out of touch with truth women are, the live in a world of their own, and there had never been anything like it, and never can be.” 9. We are able to critically analyse this quote from a feminist approach and conclude that women are disregarded within the text and play an irrelevant role to society. Marlow’s description of women portrays their insignificance to the novel, and how they are not really even present in their surrounding world, but instead have an imaginary one of their own.

9. Conrad. J, pg. 27, Heart of Darkness

10. Conrad. J, pg. 59-60, Heart of Darkness

Despite the mention of these three women in the novel, readers never hear them communicate with each other, or the other male characters, sparking the idea of female ‘neglect’ as they are practically similar. Not only that, but they also become dehumanized like the native Africans when Marlow says, “Girl! What! Did I mention a girl? Oh, she is out of it – completely. They – the women I mean – are out of it – should be out of it. 10.

Marlow’s reference to the female characters as ‘girls’ instead of ‘women’ demonstrates a psychological response by males to view women as young, small, and petite. If women do not fall in the aforementioned trio, they are then belongings, owned by men to do as they please. Women are in Heart of Darkness showcased to either need men in order to survive or neglected and not mentioned as though they are insignificant.

A strength of the feminist critical approach is that it is easily visible through writing as we see a degrading portrayal of women, as not only are they treated as possessions, but they are also barely referred to, therefore depicting the need for more gender equality

However, a limitation of the above feminist approach could therefore be said that whilst Conrad makes little to no mention of the female characters within his novel, he does not go out of his way to uplift the male characters either, therefore not empowering either sex. We as readers also need to take into account that Heart of Darkness was published during a period where it was uncommon for women to have much of an explicit say in any of their daily endeavours, and were in most cases disregarded, sexualised, and / or belittled by their male counterparts whether they were present or not. Therefore, two limitations are created in regard to feminist literary criticism.

In conclusion, whilst Heart of Darkness is an extremely well-read and well-taught novel throughout several decades, they are certain instances within the novella where we are able to argue that there could be areas of improvement. After studying Conrad’s novella from a Marxist and feminist literary approach, not only has it been easier to understand more literal meaning behind the narration but has also opened new aspects of thinking about his work.

Whilst a Marxist approach focuses not only the ideology and background of the author, but also the struggle for a classless society, they are certain strengths and limitations to this approach. As previously discussed, the Marxist approach does not take into account basic human nature, such as the desire to progress, and the selfishness that is innate to us mammals. Therefore, for this reason I would believe the Marxist approach to have more limitation than strengths. Although this approach does take into account the literary works from the “social institutions they originate from”, in particular the background and ideology of the author. I personally find that a novel cannot certainly be in relation to an author’s surroundings, and so whilst we may make the judgement that Conrad’s writing reflected on his travels and own background, this is not guaranteed nor certain. However, the limitation of the Marxist theory that every human desires to progress, as well has innate selfish emotions within them I feel is common within most readers and therefore more reliable and relatable.

A feminist literary approach is the reiteration of degrading women through an economic, social or political manner, or perhaps even casting them aside. As previously mentioned, not only are female characters are barely mentioned within Heart of Darkness, they are portrayed to be objects for men, or degrading through verbal lash. We are clearly able to see the subjection of women within this novella, creating an evident feminist approach to study. However, whilst women are barely mentioned throughout the text, men are not praised nor empowered, suggesting that perhaps Conrad was not essentially anti-feminist within his writings. This therefore creates a limitation for the feminist approach as we do not entirely know whether Conrad was indeed trying to be anti-feminist or merely did not have much need for female characters to narrate the tale of the voyage through the Congo river. However, this is hardly the case as we find the women characters not even able to communicate and voice their thoughts, as well there is backlash present throughout the novel helping us to understand that perhaps the disregard of women is intentional. Therefore, a strength of feminist literary criticism is that it allows readers to rethink the inequality of each gender and reconsider the story from that perspective.

Joseph Campbell’s Myths and the Story of Ramayana

Joseph Campbell was a man that firmly believed that the best answers to the problems of the world would be rooted in the findings of psychology; “Specifically,” he said, “those findings having to do with the … nature of myth.” (Campbell 11) Having devoted his life to the analysis of myth through psychology, he created the concept of a supreme structure for all myths. In this concept, “all myths follow the same pattern, despite the infinite variety of setting and incident.” (Devinney, Thury 186) Campbell first introduced it in The Hero with a Thousand Faces and called it the monomyth, otherwise known as the hero’s journey. The monomyth is best put to use analyzing tales of the epic adventures hero in myth and religion. The great story of the Ramayana is the exact type of myth the monomyth is meant to analyze. Throughout the Ramayana, the scheme of Campbell’s monomyth can be applied to the plot and character profiles of the main characters. Although the monomyth pattern may not be as blatantly obvious in the Ramayana as in other epic tales, through thorough examination of the story it is impossible not to draw connections between the Campbell’s way of plot analysis to the Ramayana. The events of the respective journeys of the hero and heroine – Rama and Sita – can all be dissected and classified into the categories and subcategories of the monomyth. In this essay, I will focus solely on Rama’s journey, simply because he is the chief protagonist of the story. The events of his life move the story along as he continuously sets perfect examples of what to do when a man’s dharma is challenged in various situations. In analyzing Rama’s journey as a hero according to the monomyth, his journey must be broken into the monomyth’s three main stages of Departure, Initiation, and Return, with those stages broken into substages: Call to Adventure, Crossing of the 1st Threshold, Divine Aid, Road of Trials, Helpers, Apotheosis, Ultimate Boon, Atonement with the Father, Magic Flight Crossing of the Return Threshold, Master of Two Worlds, and Freedom to Live.

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         The first part of Campbell’s monomyth deals with the Departure of the hero of the story from the world of the known to the hero into the world of the unknown, physically or otherwise. In the phase of departure, first comes the Call to Adventure. For Rama, the call comes to him in the form of his father’s wife, Kaikeyi, telling him that he is to be exiled from the kingdom and into the forest. This is the call because this forces Rama away from the ease of his civilized life as a prince and into a dangerous unknown place. Rama accepts it unperturbed because his father has promised Kaikeyi and it is not the dharma of a good son to go against his elders or the promise of his father. This leads into the next stage of departure, the Crossing of the 1st Threshold. The crossing is when Rama, along with his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshmana, go into the forest, the whole of city trying desperately to follow in their unwillingness to see Rama leave. This is the Crossing because it is the first time Rama leaves civilization. He actually physically crosses over the threshold of everything he knows into a zone he is unfamiliar with.

         The next phase of the journey begins with the Crossing and is called the Initiation, in which “the hero earns his merit, is tempted by evil, and learns the secret of the gods.” (Devinney, Thury 187) In the forest after ten years, Rama visits sage Agastya who shows Sita, Lakshmana, and he hospitality, gives them advice on where to go, and bequeaths Rama a “celestial bow, two inexhaustible quivers and a sword.” (Devinney, Thury 247) This part of the story can easily be thought of the part of the monomyth involving Divine Aid. The celestial bow belonged to the god Vishnu and the quiver to the god Indra. The gods are definitely on Rama’s side. Afterward one of Rama’s Trials occurs. Being in the forest, the place of the unknown, Rama will not leave unchanged. While in the unknown a hero must endure and overcome trials that will either change him and/or prove his worthiness and this the Road of Trials. One of Rama’s Trials is when he is attacked by Dooshana and Khara and their fourteen thousand men, all of whom Rama slays single handedly. For Rama, since he is already essentially the perfect man (always displaying impeccable dharma) his trial in the forest only further proves his worthiness. The next aspect of the monomyth presents itself after Sita is lost, in the form of the Sugreeva and his monkeys who Rama makes an alliance with in order to get Sita back. Their role in the story is simply the Helpers of the tale, as very plainly it is mainly through their help that Sita is found. And once she is found, Rama crosses the sea with the monkeys to battle Ravana and his titans achieving the step of Apotheosis when finally the Ravana is defeated. In the moment of victory Rama is gifted by Vishnu Brahma’s arrow and becomes god-like, though more importantly, he is still human and this is the reason he is able to defeat Ravana, correcting the mistake of the gods. Out of his victory he obtains the Ultimate Boon, his wife Sita. His dharma demanded that he “overpower the person who dishonored his family by abducting his wife,” but “ he fears she might have given into Ravana,” so he rejects her at first, to satisfy public opinion, until she proves her virtue to him. (Devinney, Thury 252) Last in Rama’s initiation stage, he finds Atonement with his Father. This happens more literally than in other stories as Rama’s father Dasratha appears from heaven itself to Rama and Sita. Rama uses the moment to correct dharma even further and begs his father to forgive his Kaikeyi and his brother Bharata, whom he had renounced before his death. Dasaratha grants Rama this at last and that piece of dharma is corrected.

         The last leg of the hero’s journey is the Return, where the hero goes back into the world he came from having fully proven himself worthy of the life he is will have. In the Ramayana, Rama experiences a Magic Flight in the celestial chariot Pushpaka. The Magic Flight is merely a tool that brings Rama back to Ayodhya. It is the tool that brings this hero through the 2nd Threshold in this story. The threshold itself is the line (not physical) that represents the separation between the world of peril that Rama has been occupying for the past 14 years. He crosses back over that line into civilization when it is time for him to take backup rule of the kingdom as he and Bharata had agreed 14 years before. Rama now fulfils the aspect of the monomyth that is labeled the Freedom to Live. In this last part of the structure the hero has all of the knowledge of his lengthy adventure and uses it to live his life to its fullest extent. “Rama rules the kingdom for over ten thousand years, enhancing the joy of his people…” He not only rules as he would have 14 years before, but comes back having lived out an adventure that teaches his people how to live and sets the perfect example of dharma.

         The tale of the Ramayana through the magnifying glass of Campbell’s monomyth is an interesting puzzle. Though I have analyzed it this way, through piecing it together I have realized there are many ways I could have interpreted it. From various characters’ angles at that. It is easier now to see the importance of the Ramayana itself as well. Unlike other hero stories I have read, it displays a hero that is already perfect – that begins story without flaws and ends the story not very much changed accept that he is older. Other stories display a hero that has extraordinary abilities as Rama does but, almost as a rule, the hero has personality defects. Rama does not, and the reason seems to be that in this type of myth is exclusively meant to teach. To be a type of perfection for people of the Hindu faith to constantly strive for. With the concept of dharma the foundation of that perfect society.

Works Cited

Campbell, Joseph. Myths to Live By. New York: Peguin Group, 1993. Print.

Devinney, Margaret, and Eva Thury. Introduction to Mythology. 3rd. ed. New York Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.


Power Struggle Between Leon Trotsky & Joseph Stalin

In 1922, when Vladimir Lenin became incapacitated, there was a clear need of a successor for the Soviet Union. As he was slowly dying, a power struggle emerged between Leon Trotsky, and Joseph Stalin. These two had developed a deep hatred and rivalry for each other. Even though Trotsky “had been widely viewed as the heir of Lenin, it was relatively easy for Stalin to combine with the other Bolshevik leaders in order to head off this threat” (Paley 10)1. In Lenin’s “Final Testament”, Lenin could already see that Stalin was quickly and surreptitiously gaining power. Stalin’s position of General Secretary gave him the ability to appoint people to important positions. Lenin was also reluctant to see Stalin as his successor because he thought that Trotsky could do a much better job. Lenin believed that Trotsky was the best man in the central committee for the job. The date of January 21st, 1924 was no ordinary date for Russia. It marked the death of the countries leader Lenin, and now Stalin and Trotsky would truly compete for leadership. Unfortunately, Stalin won by exiling Trotsky, and in 5 years was in complete totalitarian control of Russia. Trotsky would have been a better leader than Stalin due to their contrasting past histories, ideological beliefs and contrasting beliefs of socialism.

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Stalin and Trotsky each had their own experiences growing up which impacted and influenced them to become revolutionaries. Joseph Stalin was born in 1879 in Georgia, which at that time was in southern Russia. He was the son of a poor shoemaker, and the only child in his family to survive past infancy. Not much else is known about his childhood, except that he lived with a priest, and received a religious education. In 1889, he was expelled from his seminary because he failed to go to his examinations. In the future, Stalin would say that he was really kicked out because he was a revolutionary. His original name was Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, however in 1913 he used the pseudonym Stalin, after becoming a Bolshevik revolutionary. Changing his name also allowed Stalin to have a Russian sounding name like Lenin. Stalin was known as a hard worker, but “unlike Lenin he was neither a great thinker nor a great writer” (Killingray 3)2. Even though Stalin wasn’t the brightest of revolutionaries, he was still smart enough to win the power struggle with Trotsky. On the other hand, a great deal is known about Trotsky’s life and childhood. Leon Trotsky was also born in 1879, but in the Kherson Province, in Ukraine. His original name was Lev Davidovich Bronstein. He didn’t have that great of a childhood mostly because his parents were always busy with their jobs on the farm. For the first part of his life, he and his family lived in the country, where he learned to appreciate seclusion. Despite his parents always being occupied, his “lack of affection only developed in him a more affectionate attitude towards others” (Garza 19)3. When Lev was 9 years old, he moved to Odessa, with his uncle Monya. When Trotsky was 10, for the first time his revolutionary side was shown. While in school in Odessa, he stood up for a fellow student who experienced an injustice. A teacher acted cruel to this particular student only for the reason that this student was slower than the rest of the class. In order to retaliate against this unjustness, Lev “organized a protest, in which students drove their teacher into a rage by making a howling noise with their mouths closed” (Garza 21)4. Trotsky was known for absorbing as much knowledge as he possibly could in school. When Trotsky was 17, he fully believed “that revolution was the only route to a better life for the working class of the world” (Garza, 25)5. For this reason, he joined the Bolshevik party under the leadership of Lenin. After the revolution was successful, Trotsky assembled and organized the Soviet Red Army. During the civil war preceding the Revolution, Trotsky faced a new enemy known as the White Army. While Trotsky was organizing the Red Army, Stalin was “behind the scenes…[sitting] on the Revolutionary War Council and whispered malicious rumors in Lenin’s ear about Trotsky’s military tactics” (Garza 68)6. Despite Stalin’s efforts to ruin Trotsky’s reputation, Leon had proven himself a military genius when the British troops in Estonia and Latvia threatened to attack Petrograd. Stalin suggested using a defeatist strategy by abandoning Petrograd and sending all the troops to Moscow. However, Trotsky was in direct opposition to this plan, and told Lenin to let him try to save Petrograd. He persuaded Lenin to allow him to attempt to save the ancient city. Trotsky came to Petrograd determined to convert every civilian to an armed soldier. Trotsky ultimately succeeded mainly due to his persuasive speeches and confidence. British tanks were in the suburbs and their navy was ready to attack and shell the city at any time, although due to Trotsky’s excellent leadership, the city held out. Had Stalin been in command of Petrograd, the city would have been lost to the British. Despite Stalin’s and Trotsky’s contrasting youths, they were both revolutionaries, but with different sets of beliefs.
Stalin and Trotsky each had a different outlook on how the Soviet state should be run. Even after Trotsky was exiled, Stalin was not in complete control of the communist party. Stalin still had a few so-called “rivals”, who had helped him get rid of Trotsky. He may have had the most power, although was not yet to the level of power that he craved, because he had to share power with the rest of the communist party. One by one, Stalin got rid of other important people in the communist party, so that he alone could have total control and power. In 1929, Stalin was at the head of Politburo, where he was able to emerge as the real leader and dictator of Russia. In order to eliminate any other possibilities of resistance, Stalin issued the “Great Purges” in 1936 (Paley 13)7. In these Great Purges, high ranked officials of the communist party were accused of crimes against the Soviet State. Even though in most cases, the people were perfectly innocent, they were executed only because there was the slight possibility that they may have held opposition to Stalin. High-ranking officials were not the only ones who were victimized in this “campaign of terror”. A man by the name of Raskolnikov wrote a letter to Stalin concerning the great purges: “No one, as he goes to bed, knows whether he will escape arrest in the night…. You begun with bloody vengeance on former Trotskyites… [then] went on to destroy the old Bolsheviks” (Killingray 28)8. By using the great purges to his advantage, Stalin was betraying Lenin’s original methodology by killing the Lenin’s old revolutionary friends. With no one left to oppose him, Stalin was pretty much an absolute ruler of the Soviet Union. When Stalin gained complete power, he wanted to make sure that he would never meet any resistance or opposition. He felt that the only way that this goal could be accomplished was by completely dominating and controlling all aspects of people’s lives. Stalin even went as far as to use literature and art as “a puppet of the totalitarian state” (Trotsky 20)9. Despite being exiled from Russia, Trotsky was able to write criticism on Stalin. He was very angry with the way that Stalin ruled Russia, and he took no mercy in his writings about Stalin. Trotsky argued that Stalin had betrayed the original purpose of Lenin’s revolution, by using the Soviet Union as his “personal dictatorship”. Trotsky also accused Stalin of running a bureaucracy in the Soviet Union. (Paley 11-12)10. During Stalin’s reign, many efforts were made to industrialize in order to compete with the other modern nations in the world. These efforts came to be called the “the five years plans”. Sure these plans may sound to be beneficial, although in reality, millions of people died as a direct result of these 5-year plans. Since all efforts were made at industrializing, there were constant shortages of food for the peasants. Also, Stalin forced all the peasants to join collective farms. These collective farms were basically giant farms in which the peasants worked together to produce food for the Soviet State. One problem that Stalin encountered was a group of wealthy peasants who were called the Kulaks. They did not want to join the collective farms, so Stalin saw this as opposition to his power. He immediately ordered them to either be executed, or be sent to work camps in Siberia. Another problem that was evident was that the peasants as a whole were opposed to this whole idea of “collectivization”. Stalin ordered the Red Army to kill many of the peasants who were not in compliance with Collective farms. While it is not certain what Trotsky would have done were he the ruler of Russia, “it is possible that Trotsky would have followed a similar policy had he risen to power. But the policy was pursued ruthlessly by Stalin, despite the fact that he was of peasant background himself” (Paley 14)11. So if Trotsky was the leader of the Soviet Union, he would have most likely tried to modernize Russia, although not at the same level that Stalin did. While Stalin wanted to achieve his goal regardless of the costs, Trotsky would have shown an idealistic approach to the same goal of modernizing. It is almost certain that Trotsky would have followed Lenin’s original principals and methods to create the best Soviet State possible, with a minimal cost of lives. But as a result of Stalin’s rule, millions and millions of innocent people died.
Stalin and Trotsky not only had different principles and beliefs on how the Soviet State should be run, but they also had differing views on how socialism should work. While Stalin wanted “Socialism in one country”, Trotsky along with Lenin wanted worldwide Socialism. Stalin knew that his idea would fail if it was not brought out at exactly the right time. He waited until his campaign against Trotsky had brought down the popularity of Trotsky. Then Stalin proposed his theory in 1925. Stalin’s own original supporters Zinoviev and Kamenev opposing this plan, although it was too late, because Stalin had become too powerful (Garza 79)12. The only reason as to why Stalin proposed this theory so late was because it was in direct conflict with Trotsky’s theory of worldwide revolution. In order to actually succeed his theory of “Socialism in one country”, Stalin had to make the ideal and perfect socialistic/communist state. He could only accomplish this by making the Soviet Union a dictatorship, with him making all of its important decisions, and thereby making Russia a totalitarian state. Trotsky believed that it was important if not vital that capitalist countries in the west would have a communist revolution. If this occurred, Russia would easily have allies and friends. Although if there is no communist revolution in capitalist countries, then Russia would have a hostile relationship with the capitalist nations. The only reason as to why Stalin beat Trotsky over this matter was because “he had the support from other members of the Politburo who feared Trotsky” (Killingray 5)13. The real turning point came when Lenin abandoned Trotsky on this idea. This happened because Lenin saw the waves of failed world revolutions, and that keeping communism in Russia should take priority above all else. Ironically enough though, Stalin wasn’t the first to come up with “Socialism in one country”.
The question of whether Russia would have been better off without Stalin is more fact than opinion based. Sure he may have industrialized Russia, but at what cost? Stalin had millions of people killed directly and indirectly just to accomplish his goal of “socialism in one country”. If Trotsky was the leader, he would have followed in Lenin’s footsteps, instead of completely betraying the October Revolution like Stalin did. In conclusion, if Trotsky were the leader of Russia, he would have done a better job than Stalin due to their contrasting past histories, ideological beliefs and contrasting beliefs of socialism.

Rise and Fall of Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin, a man of great ambition and power, played a significant role in the transformation of Russia throughout the 20th century and up until his death in 1953. Joseph Stalin was a coldblooded leader, capable of provoking revolutionary loyalty in his followers. Nikita Khrushchev, who followed Stalin to power, described Stalin’s guidance as “creating a cult of personality.” What gave Stalin such power? Was it because he could persuade people on his behalf? Was it his rise to power along with the rise of industrialization? Or did he simply create a cult? Stalin’s success likely derived from a combination of all three. It’s undeniable however that Stalin’s leadership played a massive role in the present portrayal of Russia. By the 1930’s, he managed to lead Russia into the industrial age and at the same time alter the Soviet people into a strong-willed and modern nation able to counter the Western powers. Stalin was without a doubt an aggressive yet remarkable leader, and it would be tested when World War Two broke out in Europe in 1941. He characteristically ordered vigorous attacks and was willing to take risks with the lives of his soldiers, and urged the Central Committee to discharge commanders that proved futile. Stalin’s behavior during the civil war anticipated exactly the role he would play as Leading Commander throughout World War Two. However, it was this behavior and his fear of losing power that would haunt him until his death in 1953.

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Born into a dysfunctional family in the mountains of Georgia in 1879, Joseph Stalin from childhood embraced his strong desire for greatness and respect. Joseph was a devout Orthodox, and often involved himself in sermons. Due to an early outbreak of smallpox and a deformed arm as a child, Stalin felt inferior to many intellectuals and from that point on he would distrust many of the people he’d meet in his future. Because Stalin grew up in a dangerous village where blood feud persisted, he learned to crush any individuals that would attempt to harm him.

“Georgian popular culture had a broad emphasis on honour. This involved loyalty to family, friends and clients. Joseph by contrast felt no lasting obligation to anybody. He was later to execute in-laws, veteran fellow leaders and whole groups of communists whose patron he had been. On the surface he was a good Georgian. He hosted lavish dinner parties, he dandled children on his knee. But his sense of traditional honour was non-existent (Service 27).”

Through a traumatic childhood event, where he witnessed the hanging of two local Georgian men, Joseph learned that state power was an essential factor in any society, and that if changes in government were to ever happen, force would be a key component to go against the status quo. Prior to his engagement in school education, Joseph loved Georgian literature including thirteenth century epic poetry such as The Patricide by Alexander Qazbegi, a story about the great resistance against Russian Imperial power in the 19th century. When he began attending school, he was soon to be recognized as a competent student that was well-behaved and quick to learn. By the end summer in 1894, Joseph had completed his term at the Board of the Gori Spiritual School, and was recommended to attend the Tiflis Spiritual Seminary. The school itself followed many rules, which ranged from prohibiting students to only spending up to an hour a day in the city, to only being allowed to speak and write Russian. Inevitably, Joseph’s desire for more power and intellect led him to join the rebel students. Through his rebellious acts, he acquired texts by Marx, Darwin, Plekhanov and Lenin. During his attendance, Marxism was on the rise and he would not hesitate to learn in its tenets. By the end of his term at Tiflis Spiritual Seminary, Stalin lost interest in poetry and religion, and began to focus on his study of socialism, Marxism, economics and politics. During the Revolution in 1905, Stalin along with other Marxist and Bolshevik organizations across Russia were involved in a series of thefts from banks to help fund their party. Lenin and Stalin, who were firm supporters of Bolshevism, demanded for money to help sustain the party. By the end of 1906, Stalin was well-recognized in Georgia as “The next Lenin.”
In 1913, Stalin, along with other Bolshevik leaders were sent to exile in northeast Siberia. Their planned term of life in exile was cut short however, when in March of 1917, news came to Stalin that Nicholas II of Russia abdicated his position as ruler, thus ending the reign. A Provisional Government was formed on March 3rd, with Prime Minister Prince Lvov, cabinet members made up of Constitutional-Democrats, and Minister Alexander Kerenski. Immediately, Stalin and Kamenev were demanding a “revolutionary democratic dictatorship.” On their journey back to Petrograd, both Kamenev and Stalin agreed that they would seize control of the Bolshevik Central Committee in the capital. The Central Committee was not pleased with the arrival of Kamenev, when they discover which side he, Stalin, and Muranov were taking in the political debate. The Committee members were determined to avoid giving the three of them high ranks. Over the next few months, Stalin, who did not adopt all of Lenin’s policies which demanded state ownership of the land, argued that it would alienate peasants who wished to control the countryside. Stalin and Kamenev both agreed that in order for their Bolshevik party to grow, they had to convince everyone that they were the only party in Russia that could bring peace. Inevitably, the Provisional Government ran into difficulties, mainly due to the prolongation of the war with Germany and the dislocation of the economy.

“Food supplies fell. Factories faced closures as metal, oil and other raw materials failed to be delivered. Banks ceased to bail out industrial enterprises. The civilian administrative system, which was already creaking under wartime strains, started to collapse. Transport and communication became unreliable…Workers called for higher pay and secure employment. Soldiers in the garrisons supported a peace policy: they were horrified by the possibility of being transferred to the front line (Service 128).”

By 1918, Civil war broke out between the “Red” and “White” groups. Slowly overtime, Stalin and other Bolshevik groups begin to seize control. It was not until 1922, when Stalin was appointed to General Secretary of the Communist Party’s Central Committee. Stalin understood his power, and used it against the committee, and it was not until much later that the organization came to a realization of what he was planning. The only person who could challenge Stalin, was Lenin, who was near death after a series of strokes. In due course, Stalin became the leader of the country up until Mikhail Gorbachev. After Lenin’s death in 1924, Stalin went about destroying the ally commanders. At first, he’d remove them from their posts and exiled abroad. Stalin was still not satisfied, however, when he culminated a series of show trials in the 1930’s against the founding fathers of the Soviet Union. Stalin successfully managed to manipulate the public of Russia that these revolutionaries were “enemies of the people.” Driven by his own sense of inferiority, Trotsky along with any other intellectual professionals were liquidated or sent into exile. The First Moscow Trial accused Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev, two prominent party leaders, of attempted assassination of Stalin. The two were sentenced to death. The Second Moscow Trial involved Karl Radek, Yuri Piatakov, Leon Trotsky and Grigory Sokolnikov, in which they were said to have conspired with Nazi Germany. Most were either sentenced to death or exile. The third and final trial, known as “The Trial of the Twenty-One” involved Nikolai Bukharin, Alexei Rykov, Nikolai Krestinsky, Christian Rakovsky, and Genrikh Yagoda. The twenty-one members were accused of belonging to the “Bloc of Rightists and Trotskyites.” All the leading defendants were executed except Rakovsky and two others. Through a series of purges in 1936-38, Stalin became the sole intellectual force of Russia, and began to pursue an economic policy which would mobilize the entire country to achieve rapid industrialization, so that he may stand alongside with other Capitalist leaders.

“To this end, he forcefully collectivized agriculture, instituted the Five-Year Plans to coordinate all investment and production in the country, and undertook a massive program of building heavy industry. Although the Soviet Union boasted that its economy was booming while the Capitalist world was experiencing the Great Depression, and its industrialization drive did succeed in rapidly creating an industrial infrastructure where there once had been none, the fact is that all this was done at exorbitant cost in human lives…and the discovery of a source of cheap labor through the arrest of millions of innocent citizens led to countless millions of deaths from the worst man-made famine in human history and in the camps of the Gulag (Abamedia 1).”

Inevitably, Stalin managed to make Russia a world power, only to the demise of millions of innocent people.
In the early hours of August 24, 1939 Stalin came to agreements with Hitler a ten-year non-aggression pact. The agreement, which took place in Molotov’s office in Kremlin, ended six years of mutual discrepancy between the Soviet Union and the Third Reich. Stalin, who was greatly pleased and signed the treaty which ultimately divided the northern regions of Eastern Europe into two areas. Stalin believed that he and Hitler had a truce, thus he refused to listen to any warnings in 1941 that Hitler was planning a massive attack. On May 5, 1941, Stalin addressed a speech in Moscow which declared:

“War with Germany is inevitable. If comrade Molotov can manage to postpone the war for two or three months through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that will be our good fortune…Until now we have conducted a peaceful, defensive policy and we’ve also educated our army in this sprit. But now the situation must be changed. We have a strong and well-armed army. A good defense signifies the need to attack. Attack is the best form of defense. We must now conduct a peaceful, defensive policy with attack (Service 407).”

As Hitler began to take over France, Stalin realized it was only a matter of time before Germany would attempt to takeover Russia. If the Soviet state would fail to defeat the German armed forces, it would mean the end of the communist party. On the 23rd of June, Stalin worked with the members of the Supreme Command to plan for war. Over the next few days, the members would vote on Supreme Commander. It was not until the 10th of July, that Stalin was appointed the position. As the three million German forces crept closer to Moscow, panic began to pervade all of USSR. Because the military had been removed of its best commanders in the 1930’s, it took much time for the Soviets to reorganize. “allowing to Stalin’s purges the army was to all intents and purposes leaderless. In this respect Hitler was right in declaring that the Red Army was a headless giant, and in hurrying to invade the Soviet Union while its head had still not regrown (Wegner 381).” Stalin ordered that armament production be boosted, along with labor discipline be tightened and food supplies be secured from villages. Stalin encouraged “…enhancing the Soviet defensive position along the USSR’s western borderlands. Hence the takeover of the Baltic States and the move into Romania (Roberts 122).” Unfortunately, the lack of military experience by Stalin was detrimental to their early success. After the battle for Minsk came to a close, Stalin lost more than 400,000 Red Army troops to German forces. The Soviet air force had been destroyed, and the areas of transport and communications throughout USSR had been shattered.

“In October of 1941 the German forces, having lunged across the plains and marshes to the east of the River Bug, were massing outside Moscow for a final thrust at the USSR’s capital. Critical decisions needed to be taken in the Kremlin. The initial plan was for the entire government to be evacuated to Kuibyshev on the Volga. Stalin was set to leave by train – and Lenin’s embalmed corpse, was prepared for the journey to Tyumen in west Siberia. Moscow appeared likely to fall to the invader before winter…and Stalin, could scarcely expect that Hitler would grant him his life in the event of the increasingly probable German victory (Service 420).”

From 1941 to 1945, the forces under the command of Stalin ordered nearly 50 different strategic operations, nearly a quarter of which were defensive. Because of Stalin’s lack of military knowledge, he was not able to forecast any future attacks by Hitler. Thus many of the battles were spontaneous defensive battles, which was mainly due to the lack of preparation in long-term strategy for the whole USSR. As military leader, Stalin attempted to maintain morale of his forces through means of “Stalinist” methods and propaganda. He would pay less attention to strengthening the roles of his commanders and political commissars, and focus more on violence and punishment. It was not until Zhukov, one of Stalin’s assisting commanders, concluded that they must abandon the Ukrainian capital in order to conserve resources and human lives. Stalin, who did not agree with Zhukov, followed through with the plan. While Zhukov worked on a campaign, Stalin promoted the expansion of the armed forces. Miraculously, Stalin’s war slogan “Everything for the Front!” helped provide a massive economic boost. In the second half of 1942, Stalin managed to have the USSR produce 15,000 aircrafts and 13,000 tanks. However as a result, farms fell out of production and a deeper impoverishment of the countryside. By November, Stalin and Zhukov arranged a new operation called “Uranus”. Operation Uranus consisted of a series of telegrams, in which Stalin would order a series of attacks to crush the enemy. Thus Hitler would order his fellow general to break into Stalingrad, which had been prepared with Russian army groups. The battle persisted until February 2, 1943, when German resistance finally ceased. Stalingrad was a Soviet city again. Following the war, Stalin met in the Teheran, Yalta, and Potsdam Conferences and ordered for the Soviet Union to directly seize property from conquered nations. Stalin managed to successfully negotiate with the other leaders and secured three seats for Russia at the UN, and took control the Baltic States, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania. Communist governments were installed in the newly controlled territories, and many people began to leave. The Soviet Union was now a recognized superpower worldwide, having its own permanent seat with the Security Council, giving Stalin the respect he’d been dreaming his whole life.
The strains of the Second World War on Stalin were great, by this time he was old, a long-term smoker and drinker, and was inevitably driving him to an earlier death. After the suicide of his wife, Stalin and his family began to lead odd lives. While Stalin lived, however, his policies remained unchallengeable. He was not absolutely inflexible and most war-related decisions were kept in policy. While many of the churches had been reopened due to the war thrived, Stalin consented to act as unofficial ambassador for the peace policy of the USSR government. Thus the Russian Orthodox Church began to occupy previously recognized Christian buildings. Cultural expression became as wide as the war, where the level of material provision for Soviet citizens maintained the Stalinist mindset. While Stalin did not play for an economy of shortage, he still aimed to expand the supply of food and industrial products through the retail trade. Stalin agreed that in order to stimulate the production and distribution of consumer goods, he would have to cease wartime inflation. As a result, in December of 1947, Stalin declared the devaluation of the ruble, reducing its value to a tenth of what it had been valued at.
At the end of January in 1953, Stalin’s physician Miron Vovsi was arrested in relation to “The Doctors Plot.” This plot was an alleged conspiracy made by Stalin, which would nearly bring purges again to Russia. The conspiracy would eliminate the leadership of the Soviet Union by means of highly regarded Jewish doctors. Khrushchev, along with others, suggested that Stalin had long held negative attitudes towards Jews that had manifested prior to the 1917 Russian Revolution. Further suspicions of Stalin’s crudeness towards Jew’s were seen through the elimination of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in 194 and his campaign referred to as “rootless cosmopolitans.” The Soviet dictator accused nine doctors plotting to poison and kill the Soviet leadership. The convicted men were arrested, and at Stalin’s order, were tortured until they confessed. Within days of the doctor’s arrest, however, Stalin who was in terrible health was rapidly deteriorating. His high-blood pressure, along with his unhealthy lifestyle, led to his eventual coma. Four days later, Stalin briefly regained consciousness, and demanded the leading members of the party be brought for a conference. As a last sign of life, Joseph Stalin raised his left arm, only to die moments later. He remained a hero to the people of Russia until Nikita Krushchev, the new leader of the Soviet Union, made a prominent speech to the Party Congress in 1956. The speech attacked the policies of Stalin and revealed how Stalin was responsible for the execution of thousands of loyal communists during the purges.
In the months following Krushchev’s speech, thousands of the imprisoned under Stalin’s order were released. Attempts were further made to completely erase Stalin’s image from the Soviet Union. Public statues and portraits of the leader were removed, and parks and streets were renamed after being originally named after Stalin. Stalingrad, which had been associated with Stalin during both the Civil War and World War Two, was renamed Volgagrad. Finally, Stalin’s ashes were removed from the Kremlin Wall. While images and names of the leader were removed from the public domain, the system which Stalin had worked for still remained. The state which protected Soviet leaders was to stay unchanged for the next thirty years, until Mikhail Gorbachev took control in the 1980’s. The Cold War continued, gulag’s remained operational, and the totalitarian government remained. The world was finally permitted to access the records of Stalin and his crimes after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the conclusion of the Cold War, and the final end of the Soviet Union in 1991-92. While most of the contemporaries working under Stalin managed to hide the corruption behind Stalin’s past, many people still managed to acquire some information against the cruel dictator.
In the end, just as we may never gain full knowledge of his past crimes, we may never seize an absolute understanding of his motivations and personality. For decades, Stalin and his committee members managed to justify their deeds by saying that their goal, the building of a utopia, necessitated the sacrifice of any number of lives. In order to make a life which would better the whole, lives must be surrendered. While Stalin believed he never reached a complete Communist society, he did prove that his tactics such as collectivization and the Five-Year Plan guided toward an ideology that focused on Totalitarian control. While the world continues to suffer, it is important to realize Stalin’s unbridled desire for power can devastate millions of lives. His egocentric personality not only was detrimental to the Russian people, but to countries across the globe. While he may be revered as a man who greatly contributed to Russia’s success as a world superpower, it is undeniable that it was at the cost of something much more important. While he was a political genius, it was his paranoid loss of power which led to his demise. Joseph Stalin will always be remembered as a ruthless leader of Russia, and while he may have been erased from the public streets, he will always remain in the thoughts and prayers of the people in Russia and across the globe.