Heart of Darkness Questions and Answers
by Joseph Conrad

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How does a feminist reading differ from a psychoanalytic reading of Conrad's Heart of Darkness ?

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A feminist critique of Heart of Darkness would examine the ways in which men and women relate to power and love in the novel. For example, such a critique might look at the way in which men hide reality from the women around them and the way in which men seek power while women seek connection. While men, such as Marlow and Kurtz, are the adventurers and are allowed to travel into the dangerous heart of Africa, Kurtz's fiancee is kept in the dark about his doings in Africa. Though Kurtz has a mistress in Africa, Marlow lies and tells Kurtz's fiancee that the last words he uttered were her name. Of course, nothing is further from the truth. Kurtz seems to have largely forgotten about his fiancee, who is powerless, while he is in Africa. While women in Europe and Africa seek connection with Kurtz, he is not really committed to either of them. Instead, he seeks only power and plunder. 

A psychoanalytic reading of the novel might, using Freudian theory, focus on the way in which Kurtz's trip...

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