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Misogyny in Heart of Darkness versus Things fall Apart

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Martina Oroz

on 22 November 2013

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Transcript of Misogyny in Heart of Darkness versus Things fall Apart

Misogyny in
Heart of Darkness
Things fall Apart

Dana Coleman, Martina Oroz, Jordan Schneider, Lizzi Johnson
Similarities & Differences
-Both books have similar situations

-Conrad's tone is accepting of sexism

-Achebe's tone appears to expose sexism
-Expresses non-accepting tone or shows women in a better image than Conrad
Heart of Darkness
, not one of the three female characters is given a name
- In
Things Fall Apart
, every women is given a name, regardless of the rigor of the pronunciation
Appreciation of Women
Heart of Darkness
, Marlow did not appreciate the time and effort that his aunt had given in order for him to get the job on the steamboat

Things Fall Apart
, women are incapable of growing yams because they are a "man's crop", but they are still appreciated and acknowledged for growing other little crops

Respect for Women
-There is no respect for women in all of
Heart of Darkness

Things Fall Apart,
men do show respect for the women
Okonkwo does not allow Ezinma to bring over a chair because "that is a boy's job" (Achebe, 44)
The Way Women are Viewed
Heart of Darkness
, women are viewed as creatures

Things Fall Apart
, the women may be traded and objectified, but this does prove that men think women are worth something
Achebe states as they determine the repercussions of someone else’s crime, “...met to hear a report of Okonkwo’s mission...they decided, as everybody knew they would, that the girl should go to Ogbuefi Udo to replace his murdered wife. As for the boy, he belonged to the clan as a whole, and there was no hurry to decide his fate” (Achebe, 12)
Marlow refers to a woman as “her face had a tragic fierce aspect of wild sorrow and of dumb pain mingled with the fear of some struggling” (Conrad, 132)

Woman's Place in Society
Heart of Darkness
, men think so little of women, they think they should live in a different world

-In Things Fall Apart, men respect women enough to give them credit and they even sometimes yearn to be closer to them
Marlow thinks to himself, "It's queer how out of touch with truth women are. They live in a world of their own" (Conrad, 66)
Achebe writes, “Okonkwo was very lucky in his daughter. He never stopped regretting that Ezinma was a girl. Of all his children she alone understood his every mood. A bond of sympathy had grown between them as the years had passed” (Achebe, 172)
Empowerment of Women
Heart of Darkness
exhibits nothing to give women power

Things Fall Apart
does allow women to feel superior or worthy
Marlow lies to The Intended, Kurtz’s fiance, in order to spare her feelings. “‘The last word he pronounced was--your name.’... I could not tell her. It would have been too dark” (Conrad, 154)

Ani, an earth goddess (not someone of high religious rank), is described in a complimentary way“...A greater part in the life of the people than any other deity. She was the ultimate judge of morality and conduct” (Achebe, 36)

Joseph Conrad or Chinua Achebe?
1. “God is for men and religion is for women”

2. “Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am - and what I need - is something I have to find out myself”

3. "As to honor -- you know -- it's a very fine medieval inheritance which women never got hold of. It wasn't theirs"

4. “We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own"
Full transcript