Needless to say, the male characters in the novel are much more powerful than the female ones. That’s why Conrad is accused of portraying his female figures. Moreover the description of female characters in Heart of Darkness is limited. However, the issue becomes more complex when we inquire as to whether Conrad has presented them as, to borrow Patmore’s phrase, ‘Angel(s) in the House’ or, he brings them out of the house.
Let us take it for granted that Marlow’s attitude to women is Conrad’s attitude to women in the novel. The woman who is first to appear in the novel is Marlow’s aunt. She appears at a moment of crisis: Marlow had cherished the idea of going to Congo for a job, but he fails to get it on his own accord; when all his attempts fail, his aunt’s influence solves the problem. In Marlow’s words:
I tried the women. I Charlie Marlow set the women to work – to get a job. (Conrad 29)
But the portrait of her character smacks of irony : she is ‘a dear enthusiastic soul’(Conrad 29) living in her own world. She is ‘ready to do anything’ (Conrad 29) for Marlow in the name of a ‘noble cause’ (Conrad 33) that is enlightening the nat...
... middle of paper ...
...ecause she is intended for someone else, not for herself? Again the women are also reduced to mere possessive cases. Their identity depends on males : Marlow’s aunt, Kurtz’s Intended, the Company’s two women, etc. In our modern world, both the men and the women have equal responsibility to and equal dignity in the society. The term ‘Angel in the House’ has lost its relevance. So the way Conrad presents the women appears shocking to us.
Bose, Brinda. Joseph Conrad :Heart of Darkness, New York : Oxford University Press, 2001
Bloom, Harold. Joseph Conrad’ Heart of Darkness, New York : Chelsea House Publishers,1987
Cox, C.B. Joseph Conrad: The Modern Imagination, 1974
Ray, Mohit K. Joseph Conrad’ Heart of Darkness, The Atlantic Critical Studies
Moser, Thomas. Joseph Conrad: Achievement and Decline, Cambridge, Massachusetts : Havard University Press,1957
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Joseph Conrad was born in 1857 to Polish parents (Gorra 42). His classic novella Heart of Darkness is based largely on his personal journey to the Dark Continent in 1890. His naval adventures with the French Merchant Marines and British Merchant Service greatly influenced each of his works (Hampson 99). Jozef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski was born on December 3, 1857 to members of the Polish gentry in a Russian occupied section of the country (Conrad 1 & Gorra 43). Before the should-be jubilant age of five, Conrad and his parents were exiled to an area north of Moscow.... [tags: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness]
1088 words (3.1 pages)
- In literature, contrasting places are used by certain authors as a way of representing opposed forces or ideas that are central to the meaning of the work. We see this used in the novella “Heart Of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad as he applies the jungles of Africa and Europe to develop the concept of civilization and the heart of darkness respectively. However many critics such as Chinua Achebe and Karin Hannson believe that Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is a racist work displaying the mistreatment of African natives being below Marlow and Kurtz.In "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad 's Heart of Darkness," Chinua Achebe criticizes Joseph Conrad for his racist stereotypes towards the con... [tags: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad]
1241 words (3.5 pages)
- “The horror. The horror!” (3.12). These are the last words spoken by Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Marlow is in the room to hear these words, but they are not intended for him. Kurtz says them in an almost trance-like state like he is describing something he is watching on a screen, but what exactly is he seeing. The true meaning about Kurtz’s last words lies in Marlow’s observations of Kurtz. Kurtz is a very corrupt man with a big ego who has done many questionable things during his time in the Congo.... [tags: Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad]
1494 words (4.3 pages)
- Heart of Darkness The life of Joseph Conrad began on December 3, 1857, in the Polish Ukraine with the name Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski. At a young age, Conrad’s father was exiled to Siberia after being thought to have plotted against the Russian government. After the passing away of his mother, Conrad was sent to live with his uncle in Krakow. Conrad never saw his father again. He worked as a seaman on English ships, and in 1880 became an officer in the British merchant service. Conrad was naturalized as a British citizen in 1886.... [tags: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Congo Free State]
1304 words (3.7 pages)
- Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" Joseph Conrad's novel "Heart of Darkness" written in 1902 is an overwhelming chronicle of Marlow's journey into the heart of the African continent. It is one of the most influential novels of the twentieth century. In this ghastly and horrific tale, Marlow leads an expedition up the Congo River, only to find everything is not as it seems. This haunting and mysterious story takes him into the unbearable core of the jungle. The novel also explores trade and exploration, imperialism and colonization.... [tags: Heart Darkness Joseph Conrad Essays]
755 words (2.2 pages)
- The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Marlow, an ordinary sailor with idealistic dreams, goes on a dark yet fascinating journey as a newly hired riverboat captain, traveling up the Congo River, seeking out the legendary chief of the Belgium trading company. When describing typical sites and events situated in the Congo, Joseph Conrad wrote "The Heart of Darkness" in a first person's view, with Marlow as the highlight character. As he writes on about Marlow's experiences, he portrays typical issues set in the time period of the late 1800's, such as slavery, trading and imperialism.... [tags: Joseph Conrad Heart Darkness]
1187 words (3.4 pages)
- The Role of Women in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Women have taken an increasingly important role in literature. Only recently have authors portrayed women in a dominant, protagonistic light. Sophocles and other classical writers portrayed women more as reactors than heroines. Since the ancient Greeks, however, a trend has been established that gives women characters much more substance and purpose. A definite shift from the antediluvian ways can be seen, and the overall complexity of women characters has increased exponentially.... [tags: Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness]
968 words (2.8 pages)
- Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness - A Modernist Novel Modernism began as a movement in that late 19th, early 20th centuries. Artists started to feel restricted by the styles and conventions of the Renaissance period. Thusly came the dawn of Modernism in many different forms, ranging from Impressionism to Cubism. In order to explore new venues of creativity Modernists tinkered with the perception of reality. During the Renaissance, the depiction of a subject was very straight forward. A painting had to look like what it represented.... [tags: Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness]
505 words (1.4 pages)
- Women have gained equality with men over the many centuries of the evolution of the modern western civilization. Hence, it cannot be overlooked that there still exist many literary examples of social disregard for woman potential. Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" exemplifies the Western patriarchal gender roles in which women are given the inferior status.<p> Not only are women portrayed as being inferior to men, but Marlow's (the protagonist's) seldom mentioning of them in his Congo adventure narrative symbolizes his view of their insignificance.... [tags: Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness]
1190 words (3.4 pages)
- Use of Light and Darkness in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness contrasts light and darkness, to represent the civilized and uncivilized sides of the world. Conrad uses light to represent the civilized side of humanity while contrasting the dark with the uncivilized and savage. Throughout the thematic stages of the novel, that is the Thames river London, the company's office in Belgium, the journey to the "heart of darkness" and the conclusion, light and dark is used to represent these sides of humanity, but on a deeper level many assumptions of darkness and light are challenged, with the appearance of light and dark, and in turn good and evil contras... [tags: Heart Darkness essays Joseph Conrad ]
1493 words (4.3 pages)