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Women in Heart of Darkness Essay. There are only three relatively minor female characters in Heart of Darkness: Marlows aunt, Kurtzs mistress, and Kurtzs "Intended", who was Kurtzs fianc.

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Introduction

Dishali Patel Vergien-1 Feb. 7th 2011 Feminist Criticism Analysis of Heart of Darkness In Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness, Marlow's view of women embodies the typical 19th century view of women as the inferior sex. There are only three relatively minor female characters in Heart of Darkness: Marlow's aunt, Kurtz's mistress, and Kurtz's "Intended", who was Kurtz's fianc�. Marlow mentions these female characters in order to give the literal aspect of his tale more substance. While they play specific roles in the story, they do not relate with the primary theme of the story. The primary theme focuses on how Marlow's journey into the Heart of Darkness. It contrasts the "white" souls of the black people and the "black" souls of the whites who exploit them, and how it led to Marlow's self-discovery. From the starting of Marlow's story Conrad tells how he, "Charlie Marlow, set the women to work--to get a job. Heavens! Well, you see, the notion drove me. I had an aunt, a dear enthusiastic soul. She wrote: 'It will be delightful. ...read more.

Middle

Marlow's aunt is one of the few women with power, but only because she knows powerful men. The two other female characters are not mentioned until much later in the story, after Marlow has arrived at the Inner Station. When Marlow reaches this point in his tale, he jumps ahead and talks a minimal amount about "The Intended", Kurtz's na�ve fianc� who was to marry Kurtz when he returned. The Intended woman does not appear until the very end of the novel, in which Marlow visits her and lies to her about Kurtz's dying words. Her unshakable certainty about Kurtz's love for her reinforces Marlow's belief that women live in a dream world, well insulated from reality. "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. We must help them to stay in that beautiful world of their own, lest ours gets worse." (Part 2, page 29) At the first mention of the Intended, Marlow reverts back to his opinion of women as completely out of touch with reality. ...read more.

Conclusion

and innumerable necklaces of glass beads on her neck; bizarre things, charms, gifts of witch-men that hung about her glittered and trembled at every step."(Part 3, page 14) In the book, Heart of Darkness, This seductive native African woman has the air of a warrior. She walks regally and without fear, her hair is "done in the shape of a helmet," and she wears protective brass coverings on her limbs. She appears a bit later on when Marlow and Kurtz depart on the steamboat, and is not scared off when Marlow blows the whistle. She stretches her arms out towards the steamer, and that is the last time she is seen. The limited depiction of female characters in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and the way in which the three female characters are referred to by Marlow reflect Marlow's view of women as inferior. Marlow's opinion of women manifests the typical 19th century views of women. While the women do play key roles in the plot of the story, they do not influence the main theme of the story, which is of Marlow's exploration of the darkness which is inherent in the human soul. ...read more.

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