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Word Count: 566
In Joseph Conrads novel Heart of Darkness Marlows view of women embodies the typical 19th century view of women as the inferior sex There are only three relatively minor female characters in Heart of Darkness Marlows aunt Kurtzs mistress and Kurtzs Intended Marlow mentions these female characters in order to give the literal aspect of his tale more substance While they definitely play specific roles in the story they do not relate with the primary theme of the story The primary theme focuses more on how Marlows journey into the heart of darkness contrasts the white souls of the black people and the black souls of the whites who exploit them and how it led to Marlows self-discovery In the beginning of Marlows story he tells how he Charlie Marlow set the women to work--to get a job He tells this in the context that he was so desperate to travel in the trade industry that he did what was unthinkable in those times he asked a woman for financial assistance The woman his aunt also transcended the traditional role of women in those times by telling Marlow that she would be delighted to help him and to ask her for help whenever he needed it This incident did not have much to do with the symbolic theme of the story it simply served to tell the reader how Marlow managed to be able to travel to the Congo On a higher level it was intended by Conrad to illustrate Marlows opinion of womens inferior role in society which embodied traditional 19th century society The two other female characters are not mentioned until much later in the story after Marlow has arrived at the Inner Station When Marlow reaches this point in his tale he jumps ahead and tells a little bit about The Intended Kurtzs fiance who was to marry Kurtz when he returned The Intended woman does not appear until the
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