Race and Class

Heart of Darkness, Melanctha, Untouchable, and Their Eyes Were Watching God all present images of a set of people different from the author. To differing extents the authors try to make the these “others” believable and to present their speech.  While race is the defining characteristic in three of the novels, it is class that marks the dividing line in Untouchable.

The historical arc of these four novels with respect to race and class is one that shows an increasing degree of identification with the oppressed race or class. In Heart of Darkness Conrad does nothing to make the africans seems human. He includes common steroetypes of the time to insure they are seen as lesser than whites. In Melanctha Stein makes a concerted effort to illuminate the lives of blacks in America. However she still falls into the use of stereotypes and a dialect that assumes ignorance. Untouchable by Mulk Raj Ananad argues for the basic humanity of all people. There is little of the superior attitudes seen in Heart of Darkness and Melanctha. Their Eyes Were watching God takes a further step in not just dropping the racism, but by presenting african americans as fully realized people and not trying to excuse  the faults of the characters.