The Second Sex In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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Many critics, including A.M. Roberts and Haydar Ali, have expressed their discontent regarding the sexism in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Feminist writer Simone the Beauvoir explains her theory on the social stance of women in her book The Second Sex. In the chapter Myth and Reality this theory can be applied to several women described in “Heart of Darkness”. Both the intended and the African mistress of Kurtz are examples of a false sense of ‘mystery’ which places them in a separate group in society that de Beauvoir describes in The Second Sex. The most prominent point of The Second Sex is to illustrate how women are segregated from society by men, something which happens a lot in Heart of Darkness. De Beauvoir explains to the audience that men and women often do not understand one other and because men hold a higher social status in a patriarchal society, they have made women the ‘Other’ group in society. This is made evident by De Beauvoir’s following quote: “To pose Woman is to pose the absolute Other, without reciprocity, denying against all experience that she is a subject, a fellow human being.” (De Beauvoir 1266). As a consequence of not understanding women, De Beauvoir explains, men use this false sense of mystery as an excuse not to understand women or their problems. In Heart of Darkness the narrator Marlow believes that women live in their own naïve little world and that they should not interfere with the affairs of men, which he states in the following

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