Heart Of Darkness

Heart Of Darkness Part I In the novel, Second Class Citizen, the main character, Adah, is a strong, Nigerian women who faces sexism from within her own culture since she was born. She explains, She was a girl who had arrived when everyone was expecting and predicting a boy.. She was so insignificant (Emecheta 7). In the Ibo culture that Adah grew up in, being a girl was looked down upon. Giving birth to a boy was a major accomplishment, whereas giving birth to a girl was an equally major disappointment.

Girls were taught to be useful, not intelligent: A year or two would do, as long as she can write her name and count. Then she will learn to sew (Emecheta 9). In Ibo culture, girls were valued for their domestic abilities. Adah refused to be measured by this, instead she was determined to go to school and get an education. She worked had to overcome the sexist attitude that her culture held.

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This sexist attitude continued after she got married to Francis. Francis is a typical Ibo male. He held the view that the males should go and get educated and the female should stay home, or in Francis case, work to support his education. Adah knew his attitude, The sharpness seemed to say to her: It is allowed for African males to come and get civilsed in England. But that privileged has not been extended to females yet (Emecheta 36). Francis is a pure reflection of the values held by the Ibos.

All Francis wanted from Adah was money, to pay for his education, and sex: As far as he was concerned marriage was sex and lots of it, nothing more (Emecheta 41). To Francis, Adah was a sexual object. As far as he was concerned, her feelings didnt matter, she was not a real person. Adah knew she was up against the enemy when she challenged Francis, but she was able to rise about he sexism and leave Francis. Not only does she go against her own culture, but she wants her children to reject the sexist attitude as well: My sons will learn to treat their wives as people (Emecheta 121). Adah is a strong women who will not let herself be objectified and will not let the sexism of her culture keep her down.

Adah would dislike the way that women are portrayed in Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness because women are treated as though they do not belong in the real world. Women are treated as objects instead of people with thoughts and feelings. It is this treatment that Adah worked hard to overcome. Part II In Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness, Marlow, the narrator of most of the story, tell the story of his journey into the Congo searching for the lost ivory trader, Mr. Kurtz.

Throughout Marlows journey, he encounters different types of women. In his encounters with his Aunt, the African women, and Mr. Kurtzs intended fiancee, Marlow shows his demeaning and sexist view of women. Marlow objectifies women depending on their race. The white European females are looked upon as domestic beings who should tend only to their home worlds, while the only African women is portrayed as a sexual object. It is this objectivity that causes Marlow to never reveal the truth about Mr. Kurtzs life and death. The first woman that we meet is Marlows aunt. She is the one paying for his trip to the Congo, yet Marlow does not respect her views.

Marlow says, She talked about weaning those ignorant millions from their horrid ways, till, upon my word, she made me quite uncomfortable.. Its queer how out of touch with women are (Conrad 11). In essence, Marlow is saying that women are out of touch with reality, even though it is clear that his Aunts views about Africans reflect the popular view of the time. That view being to Christianize Africa and get rid of their traditional culture. This view was held by the likes of Rudyard Kipling, Leoplod II and other prominent men of the time. Marlow does not recognizes his Aunts views simply because she is a women and he doesnt think women belong in the real world.

He says, They [women] live in a world of their own, and there had never been anything like it, and never can be (Conrad 11). Marlow expresses the fact that women live in sort of a alternate universe, that is that they are out of touch with reality. Because of this, women have no place in the workings of society, that being in politics or social issues. Therefore, his Aunt is good enough to fund Marlows trip, but her usefulness stops with the money. She is treated as a money tree instead of an individual with thoughts and views of her own.

The only African women introduced in the novel is Kurtzs house maid. She is looked upon as a different sort of object, she is the object of sexual desire. She is described with animalistic qualities by Marlow: She walked with measured steps, draped in striped and fringed clothes, treading the earth proudly, with a slight jingle and flash of barbarous ornaments (Conrad 55). This description gives the image of a vicious cat walking across the ground with ..measured steps. treading the earth.

She is not physically described with human qualities, but as more of an exotic beast-like creature. She also stirs up desire in Marlows heart, as he describes her presence: ..The colossal body of the fecund and mysterious life seemed to look at her, pensive, as though it had been looking at the image of its own tenebrous and passionate soul (Conrad 56). Her presence gives rise to the passion in Marlows soul as well. It is her mysterious quality that is so attractive. She is not viewed as a human, but as an object of sexual desire because she is exotic and mysterious.

Marlow recalls the man of patches saying, If she had offered to come aboard I really think I would have tried to shoot her (Conrad 56 ). The fact that these men would be so quick to kill her shows that they dont view her as a human because they would never be so quick to kill a white women. Her sexuality is threatening to the men, and it allows them to look at her as an object instead of a human being. The last women that Marlow encounters is Kurtzs intended fiancee, who is simply referred to as the Intended. She is first mentioned in Kurtzs jabbering.

He says, Oh she is out of it- completely. They- the women I mean- are out of it- should be out of it (Conrad 44). Kurtz is saying that women are out of touch with the real world. They are not aware of what goes on outside their own world, and that is the way it should be. Women should not think about what goes on in the world.

Kurtz tells Marlow, We must help them to stay in that beautiful world of their own, lest ours gets worst (Conrad 44). In essence, Kurtz is instructing Marlow to keep his Intended in the dark about what is really going on in the Congo. The womens world is one that is ignorant to the harsh realities of life , such as the mad man that Kurtz has become. Kurtz does not want his Intended to know what he has become because he might lose her and that would be like losing a possession to him. Kurtz exclaims, My Intended, my ivory, my station, my river, my-, everything belonged to him (Conrad 44).

Kurtzs Intended is grouped with his other possessions like ivory and his station. He sees her as a belonging instead of a real person. It is the objectification of Kurtzs Intended that in the end stops Marlow from telling the truth about Kurtzs death. With Kutrzs Intended in mourning, Marlow tells her, The last word he pronounced was- your name (Conrad 71). Marlow knows Kurtzs true last words, which were The horror! The horror! (Conrad 64), but he could not bring himself to tell her the truth.

By telling her Kurtzs true last words, Marlow would have place her into the real world and she would have had to face those realities. By keeping her in the dark, Marlow leaves her in her fantasy world where she will never realize she is more that someones possession, she is an individual. Through the objectification of women in the Heart of Darkness, the true nature of imperialism as displayed in Kurtz is never revealed to the world. Just as Marlow will not recognize the views of women as individuals, the world will never recognize the true nature of imperialism. English Essays.