Feminine values in 'Heart of Darkness'
'Heart of Darkness' is told by a man to a male audience. None of the main characters are women; Marlow keeps the women in the background and speaks slightingly of them; to him they are an object of mild scorn and laughter. His lack of respect for the intelligence of the whole sex is indicated in his treatment of Kurtz' fiancee at the end of the story. Having already spoken of himself as a man who hates a lie, he tells her, "The last word he pronounced was - your name". Marlow's tale is neither about women nor for their hearing, how,then, do they fit into 'Heart of Darkness'? In this paper I hope to show that woman, in her symbolic way, plays at least as important a role as man. Women, i ndeed, are beh i n d al l of the events i n the story. Conrad very deliberately and ironically has Marlow tell his story aboard a ship named the 'Nellie'; and that feminine name is the first word of the story.
SSLM - Annuario - Nuova Serie
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Robert Jewett, "Feminine values in 'Heart of Darkness' ", in: Annuario SSLM 1987, EUT - Edizioni Università Trieste, pp. 189 - 195.