Representation of Power in Heart of Darkness

Essay by boogerboy999High School, 10th gradeA, August 2008

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HYPROCRICY OF IMPERIALISM•On page 35, When Marlow describes his city of departure; the notion of white superiority is immediately problematised for the reader. The colour acquires not only sepulchral connotations but also moral dubiousness; Marlow's description recalling the Biblical phrase for the hypocrite, the man of inner darkness whitewashed by outer manner and conventional deed•Hypocrisy of Imperialism is also shown by, the marble fireplace of the tomb which possesses a "cold and monumental whiteness", connecting this particular European interior with the general exterior of the society. The white of the middle-eastern tomb's exterior is the white of ivory, superficially attractive whilst the inner truth is the stench of bones.

•Power is also represented by the looming figure of the building with its quote, "Immense double doors" and "imposing carriage archways". The quote, "Vast amount of red"WOMEN AND POWER•This section of the book also introduces the idea of power over women.

The misogynistic views of women are justified when Marlow's aunt does express a naïvely idealistic view of the Company's mission, and Marlow is thus right to fault her for being "out of touch with truth."•Marlow phrases his criticism so as to make it applicable to all women, suggesting that women do not even live in the same world as men and that they must be protected from reality.

•In part this may be because Marlow uses women symbolically as representatives of "home." Home is the seat of naïveté, prejudice, confinement, and oppression. It is the place of people who have not gone out into the world and experienced, and who therefore cannot understand. Nonetheless, the women in Marlow's story exert a great deal of power. The influence of Marlow's aunt does not stop at getting him the job but continues to echo through the Company's correspondence in Africa. At the Company's headquarters, Marlow encounters a number of apparently influential women, hinting that all enterprises are ultimately female-driven. This is also shown by the "white haired secretarial head" which exerts a rather ghostly and power-hungry feel.

Bibliography: Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness