Women are powerful fighters, however, historically they have been criticized and limited by men. They have also been seen as a man’s shadow, powerless and left to observe their surroundings.Women have faced feminist criticism and struggled to exist in society.
They are seen as pretty and full of dreams, but they are hardly seen as independent women who understand their surroundings and society. The novella, Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, is a masculine perspective on the silence of women. Conrad believes they are worthless and ” live in their own world” (15). Though he admires their dreams and hopes, women are often underestimated. Conrad mainly focuses on their appearance rather than their narrative voices. He has failed to represent women and provide their given names.
The women’s names were never given because they are not treated equal as the men and are viewed as objects. Women are viewed as dependent individuals who are simply looked upon as being a man’s accessory.Marlow’s aunt is the first woman to appear in the novella. She gets Marlow a job in the company, even though, she does not speak, she is respected and cared for by Marlow who believes “… how out of touch with truth women are.
They live in a world of their own, and there had never been anything like it, and never can be” (15). Marlow’s way of complementing woman’s mentality is by manipulating them and keeping them ignorant, saying that women are too sensitive to know how cruel the world is. The Fates are three sisters, the first one is in charge of spinning the thread of life, the middle one determines how long life will be, and the third one ends life. She can be symbolically compared to the first one because in a way she influences Marlow’s future by nursing up his strength; when he got sick his life depended on her as if the thread of his life relied on her hands.
The Intended, she is known to be Kurtz’s fiance. Conrad introduces her as “the intended” rather than her given name. She is described as useless because she waits for her fiance to come back whenever he wants to. Kurtz is a mysterious man who is portrayed as a God throughout the novella. He treats the Intended as if she is an object of his possession and groups her along with his material items. For instance, ‘”my ivory.
‘” ” oh yes, I heard him,” ‘ “My Intended, my ivory, my station, my river, my-‘” (59-60). Near the end of the novella Kurtz dies and Marlow is a witnessed of his death. Marlow lies to the Intended about his last words because he does not want to damage her illusions of having a broken heart.
He views her as weak and unable to handle the truth.The last one to be introduced is the African native women, known as Kurtz’s mistress. She is described by Marlow, as dark and savage, but also gorgeous and a passionate soul. She is compared to the wilderness, dressed as a soldier, but full of savagery. Marlow explains “there was something ominous and stately in her deliberate progress…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” (76). This indicates that the mistress is the only woman who has power over Kurtz. She uses lust as her way to control men and be seeing with power.
The novels Heart of Darkness and The Great Gatsby both have something in common, which is the image of women. Gatsby and Kurtz control their lovers in a way by the women following certain rules, telling women what to do, and keeping secrets. They both sway the minds of their lovers by using powerful words and project their dreams and hopes on them as if they were objects. From The Great Gatsby, Daisy says ‘”I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool'” (Ch.1).
Daisy refers that women should ignore the lies men tell them in order for women to remain happy and safe. This relates to the Intended because Marlow lies to her about his last words when Kurtz died and makes her believe that he is the same man she knew before, which is an ignorant way to keep her from the truth. Moreover, both novels show that the two mistresses are described to be sexual and how they use their sexuality to takeover a married man’s mind. Women’s silence is wiser than any man’s words, they represent imperialism in a glorified mysterious way. Their voices are not to be heard and the history of silence is centralized of women’s history throughout society. The idea of the novella is for men to protect women’s dreams and ambitions. Women are constantly present throughout the novella but are only described rather being part of the dialogue.
To conclude, ” air stills, before the hurricane” (Nikita Gill), symbolizes women silence and is one of the most powerful forms of communication, never to be mistaken as a weakness because one day women will “run the world” (Beyonce). For instance, Elizabeth Cady Stanton is a great example because she is the first woman who stood up and built an organization for women’s suffrage. She fought for women’s rights to vote and fought for them until she died.