Heart Of Darkness Sexism Analysis

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For countless millennia, civilizations around the globe have followed a patriarchal social construct. Far too often has the female voice been suppressed in the favor of their masculine counterparts. In the novel, Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad tells the tale of Marlow, a captain of a steamboat for the Belgian Continental Trading Society, as he ventures deep into the Congo. Although Conrad addresses the corruption of Africa and its people by European imperialism, he turns a blind-eye to the oppression that is occurring at home: that of women. In fact, the Conrad emphasizes the male-dominated nineteenth-century society by objectifying the few female characters in the novel and characterizing them as easily manipulated, ignorant, and entirely dependent on men. However, there is a definite contrast between European and African women. Conrad’s sexism is first seen in the …show more content…
In his analysis of Heart of Darkness, critic Andrew Roberts exposes Conrad’s environment. Roberts argues that Marlow’s – and Conrad’s – sexism stems from the entirely patriarchal European world of which both author and character were products. Men were the sole occupiers of positions of power in this culture, and thus Roberts comments, “…a whole matrix of inter-male relationships involving competitiveness, desire, bonding, the sharing and appropriation of power and knowledge...functioned in [this] Western society” (Roberts 458). To maintain this system, women are used as sexual scapegoats by men and revered as a “shared 5 desire” or common goal. As a result, women are prohibited from attaining “positions of power, knowledge and desire.” Due to this domineering social construct, the women of Heart of Darkness are shown as hopelessly weak, helplessly ignorant, and irreversibly subservient to

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