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Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness has been discussed in depth by many critics covering its contentious topics. Some critics such as Chinua Achebe, argue that the novella is racist. While others defend Conrad’s novella by arguing that the text investigates the racism and exposes it during the time period doesn’t endorse it. Another topic that has been discussed by many other critics is about women and the role they play in the novella. In the following points, the purpose is to expose negative and sexist portrayal of women in Heart of Darkness and how it differs greatly from the portrayal of men, and how this portrayal is ultimately misogynistic. I will in the following argue why Marlow portrays women the way that he does.There are people who believe that Conrad’s text is justified because of the time period that it was written in and there are people and critics alike who disagree with Conrad’s statements on women. One critic who argues that Conrad was anywhere from anti-feminism to misogynistic at times was McIntire. McIntire pointed out that Conrad “keeps the women in the novella (unlike the men) rooted to their cultural and geographical places, prevented from traveling across or between boundaries” (Peters 1). Another critic that criticized Conrad on his novella is Johanna Smith “who argues that Marlow tries to colonize and pacify women” (1). Addison Bross pointed out that “Marlow seemingly unconscious represents women as linked with evil” (1).In order to understand why Marlow portrays women the way he does, the reader must first understand that this novella is about self-discovery and the effects the world has on Marlow’s views and beliefs of the world. Near the beginning of the novella, Marlow states, “It’s queer how out of touch with truth women are” (Conrad 10). This statement from Marlow sets the stage for how the mental state of women will be portrayed throughout the novella and is only the beginning of the sexism that appears throughout the novella. Marlow’s view of women as being out of touch with reality came the time period where the view of women as capable human beings was not yet a concept.

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