In the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, women symbolize pretty illusions and the European civilizationr’s capability to hide its bigotry and racism behind pretty ideals. In many areas in the book, women are described to be out of touch with the truth, and oblivious to the horrific events happening around them. This depiction of women is meant to portray them as lesser than men, and only as followers to the nefarious ideas of the West.
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They are also seen as devotees that elapse the beliefs of the white colonists, illustrating them as stupid and naive. Throughout history, women have been depicted as such, and Conradr’s novel is no exception.
Joseph Conrad became a citizen in the late nineteenth century” and introduced the public to new perspectives regarding the autonomy of women and the gender roles assigned to them. Due to the presence of these perspectives”and the difficulty in ignoring them due to their controversy”Conradr’s text can ultimately be found sexist due to its portrayal of women as non-complex figures for the male gaze despite the authorr’s likely introduction to the contrary.
This demonstrates how Conradr’s decision to portray women as dull characters, is not justified. This choice of characterization connects to the symbolization of women as pretty illusions because they have no real importance other than acting as a bulwark for the barbaric principles of the colonists during this time. One example of this depiction would be Marlowr’s aunt when he tells her about the beautiful ideas behind colonization, and how it conceals the execution of colonialism. She agrees with him, and this establishes how women are symbolizing the civilizationr’s failure to acknowledge its corruption. His aunt also leads him to the heart of Africa to spread the glories and ideas of the West, demonstrating how she is blind to the fact that pushing ideas onto people without consent is ethically and morally wrong. All in all, this, along with many other examples, ties into the blatant sexism of the novel because women are painted as naive and oblivious to surrounding situation. Another being how Conrad gives women little to no narrative, and how they arent given actual names other than, Marlowr’s Aunt or Kurtz mistress.
As pointed out by Gabrielle McIntire in The Women Do Not Travel: Gender, Difference, and Incommensurability in Conradr’s Heart of Darkness, the only traditionally feminine name that appears in the novella is placed on an object: Marlowr’s ship, the Nellie. While McIntire includes that the naming of vessels under feminine names was common for the period,
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