Seminar paper from the year 2017 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Comparative Literature, grade: 2,7, University of Constance, course: British and American Studies, language: English, abstract: This work focuses on the question of identity in the novel "Wide Sargasso Sea". Antoinette, the female protagonist of Jean Rhys' novel "Wide Sargasso Sea", is struggling with those questions of her identity all her life. As a Creole girl, who lives in Jamaica during post-colonialism, she finds herself caught between two identities not knowing where she belongs. On the one hand, there is the black community which she knows and grows up with, on the other hand the white community which her mother tries to be a part of and forces Antoinette to fit into as well. This life between two contrasting cultures forces Antoinette into a situation of confusion and doubt which makes her question not only where she belongs but if she belongs at all. It drives her into a crisis which she is not able to escape. Jean Rhys published her novel in 1966. "Wide Sargasso Sea" tells the story of Antoinette Cosway who is also, known under the name of Bertha, a character of Charlotte Brontë's novel "Jane Eyre". In "Wide Sargasso Sea" Rhys is giving Bertha/ Antoinette a story and a reason why she became mad in the first place. The story starts in her childhood and moves on to the marriage to Mr. Rochester. The last part is set when she is already imprisoned by her husband and is setting the house on fire which accords with the story told in "Jane Eyre". For the background of the novel it is important to know that Rhys herself grew up in a situation like Antoinette's. She as well had troubles with identifying herself when she grew up. So Rhys shares part of Antoinette's history which is probably why she was that interested in telling her story which is completely uncared-for by Brontë.
Postcolonialism in literature by Christina Münzner
Bachelor Thesis from the year 2010 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0, University of Leipzig (Institut fur Anglistik), language: English, abstract: Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre was first published in 1847 in London, at a time when British Colonialism was growing increasingly important for both the provision of cheap labour and new markets abroad. The resulting wealth was crucial for Britain's economic rise and rendered possible the Industrial Revolution as well as an increased amount of political and military power over large parts of the world. Many critics have investigated Jane Eyre in feminist or marxist terms, the former because of Jane's astonishing female individuality for the time, and the latter because of the social mobility shown in the novel (Loomba 2005: 74). But since Charlotte Bronte lived during a time when the British Empire was at its peak, her writing was certainly influenced by a colonial belief system which is also present throughout Jane Eyre. [...] Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys picks up on that notion of the silenced mad woman locked in the attic of an old English manor. Although written in 1966, the novel is widely acknowledged as Jane Eyre's prequel and puts more emphasis on Antoinette's (as named by Rhys) life before she became the wife of a man who is never actually named but is usually identified as Edward Rochester and will be referred to as such in the course of this work. Since the plot of Wide Sargasso Sea starts in Jamaica a few years after the Emancipation Act of 1833, it is historically set in approximately the same time frame as Bronte's text but provides the reader with a much more conscious depiction of colonialist practices and thought. [...] The purpose of this thesis is to examine in which aspects Wide Sargasso Sea can be declared a rewriting of Jane Eyre and what features and characteristics allow the former to stand on its own as a novel. A selection of postcolonial th
Seminar paper from the year 2008 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 2,00, University of Koblenz-Landau (Anglistik), course: Colonial and Postcolonial Literatures, language: English, abstract: Wide Sargasso Sea is one of the best-known literary postcolonial replies to the writing of Charlotte Bronte and a brilliant deconstruction of what is known as the author's "worlding" in Jane Eyre. The novel written by Jean Rhys tells the story of Jane Eyre's protagonist, Edward Rochester. The plot takes place in West Indies where Rochester met his first wife, Bertha Antoinette Mason. Wide Sargasso Sea influences the common reading and understanding of the matrix novel, as it rewrites crucial parts of Jane Eyre. The heroine in Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, Antoinette Cosway, is created out of demonic and bestialic Bertha Mason from Jane Eyre. Rhys's great achievement in her re-writing of the Bronte's text is her creation of a double to the madwoman from Jane Eyre. The heroine of Wide Sargasso Sea, the beautiful Antoinette Cosway, heiress of the post-emancipation fortune is created out of the demonc and bestialic Bertha Mason. The author transforms the first Mrs Rochester into an individual figure whose madness is caused by imperialistic and patriarchal oppression The vision of Bertha/Antoinette as an insane offspring from a family plagued by madness is no longer plausible to the reader. In this essay I would like to focus the factors which led to the madness of the protagonist. Although Bertha Mason and Jane Eyre seem to be enemies and contradictory characters in the Victorian novel, many critics find several similarities between the two heroines, their life and finally between Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea. Seeing Jane Eyre and Antoinette Cosway as sisters and doubles is very popular with some critics who dealt with the works of Charlotte Bronte and Jean Rhys. Nevertheless, I would like to focus in this essay on Gayatri Chakravort
Antoinette Cosway is a Creole heiress living in Jamaica, who meets and marries a young Englishman, Mr Rochester. Taken from the vibrant, sensual Caribbean landscape to England, Antoinette finds herself the centre of disturbing rumours which gradually posion her husband's mind against her.
Seminar paper from the year 2005 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1.0, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, course: The Victorian Afterlife, 12 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Bertha Mason in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is a character without history or personality. She is depicted as a mere beast, bent on destroying her husband. The reader knows -and dreads- her from both Jane's and Rochester's perspective. Rochester claims that Bertha's lunacy was the sole trigger for the disaster that followed, but the narration reveals hints that suggest other factors may have contributed to the destruction of their marriage. Jean Rhys proposed a past for Bertha and her husband. Her novel Wide Sargasso Sea creates a life for Bertha, on the background of which her madness is neither surprising nor inevitable. Whereas there is no doubt that she does become insane at the end of Rhys's novel, the reason for this is not her evil nature but a destructive relationship along with her transportation away from everything she ever knew into the cold of England. Wide Sargasso Sea is more than a prequel to a famous Victorian novel. It speaks out not only for Bertha but for all the other West Indian women who found themselves in similar situations.
Hypertextuality provides a comprehensive system of analyzing any relationship between literary texts. It is a generic architext which encompasses certain genres such as pastiche, parody, and travesty. The main concern of this book is parody. It aims to show how a twentieth-century literary work like Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea can be related to and a parody of Charlotte Bronte's nineteenth-century novel Jane Eyre. The book considers the generic study of both novels focusing on the concept of bildungsroman and analysis of the dream texts, and also character analysis of Rochester. Concequently, the research shows how some elements in Jane Eyre are developed into parodic elements in Wide Sargasso Sea.This book sheds more light on the post-modern concept of Hypertextuality to help the reader comprehend it better.
Jean Rhys’ novel Wide Sargasso Sea explores the life of Bertha Mason (known here as Antoinette Cosway), a character taken from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. In the 1830s, Antoinette is born as a white Creole girl into the repressive and colonialist society of Jamaica. After a lonely and sad childhood, Antoinette is married to the Englishman Rochester; subsequently, her journey towards madness begins. Wide Sargasso Sea can be seen as a prequel to Jane Eyre and thus, both novels belong inseparably together. Many critics argue that the two novels stand by themselves and that Wide Sargasso Sea cannot be regarded as a prequel to Jane Eyre. I, however, argue that both novels do belong together because Wide Sargasso Sea features a great deal of similarities to Jane Eyre, e.g. the character Rochester, the character Grace Pool, or the reference to Bertha Mason. In the postcolonial discourse, Wide Sargasso Sea can also be regarded as an ‘answer’ or a ‘writing back’ to Jane Eyre. In addition, Jean Rhys herself once pointed out why she felt that it was necessary to write a novel about the life of Bertha Mason, which is going hand in hand with my statement that the two novels belong together: When I read Jane Eyre as a child, I thought, why should she think Creole women are lunatics and all that? What a shame to make Rochester’s first wife, Bertha, the awful madwoman, and I immediately thought I’d write the story as it might really have been. She seemed such a poor ghost. I thought I’d try to write her a life. Rhys perceived Bertha as a ‘poor ghost’ and not as a real character. In Rhys’ view Bertha deserved to have a life, a novel which explains her behavior in Jane Eyre and gives her a voice. In contrast to Jane Eyre’s Bertha, who only could express herself through, for instance, “strange laughter,” Antoinette in Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea has a strong voice expressing her female Creole identity. Thus, she elucidates her ‘condition’ from a different point of view. Rhys deals with various themes in her novel one of which is madness.