Restraint of Feminine Power in Kubla Kahn, Heart of Darkness, and Death Constant Beyond Love

Restraint of Feminine Power in Kubla Kahn, Heart of Darkness, and Death Constant Beyond Love

Length: 1620 words (4.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


Feminine power has long struck awe into the very heart of humanity. From modern believers in a single female God to the early Pagan religions, which considered every woman a goddess due to the mysterious and god-like power of the “sacred feminine” to create life, people of various faiths and time periods have revered the powers of womanhood. In traditional American culture, however, women are supposedly powerless and fragile, and men supposedly have both physical and political power. Is this true for modern society? Are our gender roles such that women are fragile and powerless, despite the historical prevalence of faith in the mysterious and creative powers of the female? Or are men fragile, and is modern feminine power not diminished but disguised? Dialogue surrounding gender in more recent periods of literature and thought, such as Romanticism, Modernism, and Post-Modernism, gravitate toward the latter argument. To understand their thinking, the following three works are instrumental: Romantic Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, “Kubla Kahn” (1797), Modernist Joseph Conrad’s novella, Heart of Darkness (1899), and Post-Modernist Gabriel García Márquez’s short story, “Death Constant Beyond Love” (1970). In these works, an increasing tendency to contain rather than exploit feminine power reveals the fragility of the male personality.

The male speaker’s attempt in Coleridge’s “Kubla Kahn” to appropriate feminine mystery and creativity into his own generative capacity – that is, to exploit it – reveals his very fragility. The speaker bestows feeling and color upon the complicated and ambiguous natural scenery by describing female figures: first, a setting “as holy and enchanted As e’er … was haunted By woman wailing for her...


... middle of paper ...


... Darkness, to efforts to fearfully ignore it, as in “Death Constant Beyond Love”. The latter two options involve containment of feminine power, a strategy that, as the chronologically ordered works above suggest, is growing increasingly common. The principal difference between the techniques of exploitation and containment is the male’s level of acceptance: struggle to contain feminine power betrays a sense of panic and denial, whereas the quest to exploit the power of the female manifests a feeling of more or less calm acceptance of the reality that men are not as strong as they appear. In the end, no modern man can truly conquer feminine power – though he may attempt to do so through language and narrative – but if he could choose between panicked mania for control or peaceful truce with the true dichotomy of the sexes, he would be a fool not to choose the latter.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Hamlet Invisible Man

- Female and male are two fundamental sectors of humanity. Anima and animus are psychologist Carl Jung’s way to describe the feminine and masculine halves of the personality. Just like the ambiguity of gender orientation, anima and animus coexist within the individuals of the global population. The blurred border between these subdivisions implements the need to search for . In Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and Ellison’s Invisible Man, the feminine character traits of the protagonists are alluded to as the cause of their failures, which supports the idea that the inward battle between masculinity and femininity exist as the characters journey closer to their identity....   [tags: anima, animus, feminine]

Powerful Essays
1426 words (4.1 pages)

Death Constant Beyond Love Essay

- It is inevitable that we will all die it is a fact that everyone must come to terms with. There comes a time in everyone’s life that they must face death; a friend’s tragic accident, a family member’s passing or their own battles with diseases. When faced with the idea of death people will act in different ways some may find it therapeutic to apologize for the negative they have done, some may want to spend time with loved ones to ease the future pain, and others may decide that their life was not what they believed....   [tags: Story Analysis, Character Analysis]

Powerful Essays
2031 words (5.8 pages)

Essay about Death, Gender, and Social Roles in Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse

- Death, Gender, and Social Roles in To the Lighthouse        To the Lighthouse is a book preoccupied by death, and gender is formulated by the difference in response to its threat. Women pursue immortality through creation of illusion and men through pursuance of facts. The novel questions the distinction between the sexes that became rigidified into pre-WWI gender roles which are exemplified in the institution of marriage. A younger generation fights against the rigidity of gender boundaries, Lily being the chief representative of this rebellion....   [tags: To The Lighthouse Essays]

Powerful Essays
5284 words (15.1 pages)

Essay on Literature Review: Prediction of Henry’s Law Constant

- Introduction An informal definition of Henry’s Law states that the solubility of a compound in a solvent is directly proportional to the partial pressure of the compound in the vapour phase, at low partial pressures. In a plot of concentration dissolved vs. partial pressure, the slope of the curve is the Henry’s Law Constant (HLC). The system is taken to be at equilibrium; that is the Gibbs free energy is at a global minimum so the macroscopic properties of the system are static. Unfortunately this definition is often too simplistic to be used in most practical applications for reasons which will be explained later....   [tags: Henry’s Law Constant]

Powerful Essays
2913 words (8.3 pages)

The Death of Love Essay example

- The Death of Love When the man stopped the pickup, I assumed he was letting me out, there on the shoulder of the rain-drenched highway. It had happened that way before, and I knew I’d be stranded there for hours. I started to beg, but he hushed me with a wave of his hand. He got out of the car and walked around to the back. Curious now, I turned to watch him through the back window. He removed the tarp covering the pickup’s bed and threw it on the ground, letting it flutter in the wind. Underneath were all these boxes, boxes full of books and clothing and yellowed pictures in fancy frames....   [tags: Personal Narrative essay about love]

Free Essays
400 words (1.1 pages)

Une Petite Mort: Death, Love and Liminality in the Fiction of Ali Smith

- Death, Love and Liminality in the Fiction of Ali Smith The morbid marriage of love and death is not an original topic to postmodernist writing or to Scottish literature. Diverse forms of literature from Greek myth to Shakespearian tragedies have hosted stories of tragic love and romantic deaths, with varying nuances of darkness and romance. Nonetheless, this paper will attempt to establish a link between Ali Smith’s writing, postmodernist fiction and Scottish fantasy, while looking at the topic of love and death in conjunction with the concept of liminality....   [tags: Ali Smith Death Love Essays]

Free Essays
5375 words (15.4 pages)

The Power of Love in Death of a Salesman Essay

- The Power of Love in Death of a Salesman    Love is one of the most confusing emotions that one can experience. It is simple yet complicated, unconditional but demanding, overused and unique. It is hard to explain what its means to feel love, to feel loved, or to be in love, however, there are aspects of love that are easily expressed. For example, ones unquestionable affection to the one they love, or the hardships and sacrifice that is endured for loved ones, and the underlying fact that once it is experienced it is not easily dismissed....   [tags: Death Salesman essays]

Powerful Essays
1513 words (4.3 pages)

Essay about The Constant Fighting of Reality in Death of a Salesman

- The Constant Fighting of Reality in Death of a Salesman The real crisis in this tragedy lies in the constant fighting of reality. The number of lies that build up on the Loman family’s shoulders, shoots pain into the heart of the reader. You keep thinking, “Quit dodging the truth Willy…Don’t get your hopes up, it’ll never work…Why are you guys avoiding all Willy’s signs that he wants to commit suicide…Why am I getting my hopes up for a plan that I know will never work for them?” One delusional dream after the other, where does it stop....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
727 words (2.1 pages)

Feminine Psyche in The Odyssey Essay

- Feminine Psyche in The Odyssey The Odyssey has much to teach us about the feminine psyche. The feminine psyche is the way that the female mind and soul react to and process situations. Females are generally faithful, giving, and respectful to their mates. We have an insight into the feminine psyche in several things that Penelope does. The weaving and unweaving of the shroud and the test of the bed are two examples of the way Penelope thinks. She does what is thought to be her duty to her husband to resist the suitors and remain faithful and loyal to her husband....   [tags: The Odyssey Feminine Psyche Essays]

Powerful Essays
693 words (2 pages)

Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique Essay

- Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique The Feminine Mystique is the title of a book written by the late Betty Friedan who also founded The National Organization for Women (NOW) to help US women gain equal rights. She describes the "feminine mystique" as the heightened awareness of the expectations of women and how each woman has to fit a certain role as a little girl, an uneducated and unemployed teenager, and finally as a wife and mother who is happy to clean the house and cook things all day....   [tags: Betty Friedan The Feminine Mystique]

Powerful Essays
1288 words (3.7 pages)