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Wide Sea Essay

874 words - 4 pages

Wide Sargasso Sea is a post colonial novel by Jean Rye. It is a typical subversive manoeuvre characteristic of post-colonial texts,which employs the strategy that the writer takes up a character or characters and uncovers its colonialist assumptions,subverting the text for post-colonial purposes. The novel acts as a prequel to Charlotte Brontë's famous 1847 novel Jane Eyre. It is the story of Antoinette Cosway (known as Bertha Mason in Jane Eyre), a white Creole heiress, from the time of her youth in the Caribbean to her unhappy marriage with Mr Rochester and relocation to England. Caught in an oppressive patriarchal society in which she belongs neither to the white Europeans nor the black ...view middle of the document...

In Rhys' version of events, Antoinette's insanity, infidelity, and drunkenness are the result of Rochester's discriminatory and racist belief that madness is in her blood and that she was part of the scheme to have him married blindly. to be insane, drunken, violent is the equivalent of being nonwhite.She suffered the alienation and unhomeliness, feeling that she has no cultural home, or sense of cultural belonging .She is seized by double-consciousness ,feeling torn between the social and psychological demands of two antagonistic cultures, and hybridity(experiencing one’s cultural identity as a hybrid of two culturals).As a white Creole, she straddles the European world of her ancestors and the Caribbean culture into which she is born, she loses her identity and cant find root in any place. In the first part of the novel we witness the development of a delicate and loveless child—one who finds refuge in the closed, isolated life of the convent. Her arranged marriage distresses her, and she tries to call it off, feeling instinctively that she will be hurt. Indeed, the marriage is a mismatch of culture and custom. She and her English husband, Mr. Rochester, fail to relate to one another; and her past deeds, specifically her childhood relationship with a half-caste brother, sullies her husband's view of her. An exile within her own family, a "white cockroach" to her disdainful servants, and an oddity in the eyes of her own husband, Antoinette cannot find a peaceful place for herself.

Mr. Rochester, Antoinette's young husband, who marry his Creole wife to seek fortune, is anonymous in the novel. He is the nameless creator and, as a white man, his authority and privilege allow him to confer identity on others. For...

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