Male Voice In Heart Of Darkness

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Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novella Heart of Darkness examines colonialism within the African Congo and the social and psychological implications of British Imperialism. Conrad implements the frame narrative to demonstrate the unnamed narrator’s change of perception of England upon hearing Marlow’s story. Additionally, there is affirmation of the ideal colonialist male within Marlow’s admiration of Kurtz. Furthermore, the male voice enforces gender hierarchy and gender roles throughout the novel. Lastly, the male voice draws attention to the hegemonic control over the natives and the European viewpoint of the native’s culture. Conrad’s novella, Heart of Darkness utilizes the male voice to highlight the idealized male figure, enforce gender hierarchy…show more content…
The story is told through two different speakers, utilizing the frame narrative. The first is the unnamed narrator who is a member of the crew on the ship Nellie and he is hearing the story from Marlow’s point of view (Conrad). Marlow is simply an eyewitness to the horrors that occur, and does not often intervene. He is not the protagonist but purely an onlooker to colonialism. Similarly the narrator is able to listen to Marlow’s story and participate as an interpreter to the story. At the beginning of the novel the narrator romanticizes England’s past. He believes that Europe has excelled in venturing the globe while developing trade and colonizing barbaric lands (Conrad). But as Marlow tells his story the unnamed narrator’s view of England and its colonialism has changed. The narrator no longer holds England in high regard, but he instead considers it dark and terrible (Conrad). There is a resemblance between the unnamed narrator and Marlow, similar to the likeness between Marlow and Kurtz. Like Marlow the narrator has been transformed by the story and the occurrences that happened within the Congo. Utilizing the male voice of Marlow and contrasting it with the male voice of the unnamed narrator emphasizes their similarities and the ability for their perceptions to alter. There is a sense of fellowship within the crewmates of the Nellie, and this…show more content…
Kurtz’s intended is an example of the preconceived ideas that women are weak and they cannot handle topics that are traumatic and disturbing. The outcome of her husband’s fate is concealed because it is too horrific for the intended to handle. Instead of revealing the truth Marlow informs the fiancée that Kurtz’s final words were her name rather than “the horror, the horror.” (Conrad). Concealing the truth from the fiancé implements the idea that women are incapable of dealing with the grotesque. Additionally, Kurtz’s intended remains in mourning and dressed in black a year after her fiancés death, she is trapped in a perpetual state of grief. This demonstrates that without a dominating male figure in a woman’s life, she is devoid of all happiness. Furthermore, Kurtz’s mistress in the Congo is utilized to contrast against Kurtz’s intended. The mistress is the complete opposite to the intended, she has dark skin, and she is wild and takes control. The mistress is a physical representation of the hierarchal differences between men and women within the Congo. She represents Africa and African women and how gender may be perceived
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