Literature in English
Wide Sargasso Sea
Wide Sargasso Sea
and socio-historic contexts
*Pagination in green:
Sargasso Sea. Introd. Francis Wyndham NY: Norton, 1982.
Originally published in 1966;
Pagination in red: Wide
Sargasso Sea. Ed. Judith L. Raiskin. Norton Critical
Ediction. NY: Norton, 1999.
|II. Rhys on Jane
"The creole in Charlotte Bronte's novel is a lay figure --
repulsive which does not matter, and not once alive which does. .
. . For me . . . she must be right on stage. She must be at
least plausible with a past, the reason
Mr. Rochester treats her so abominably and feels justified, and the reason
why he thinks she is mad and why of course she goes mad,
even the reason why she tries to set everything on fire, and eventually
succeeds. . . " (Gregg 82; emphases added)
of Jane Eyre:
I. Shift of dates:
Jane Eyre -- towards the end of the novel reads a book published
Bertha confined in the attic in the first decade of the 19th century.
WSS's time frame shifted to 1830's onwards:
Emancipation Act 1833
Antoinette -- a child in the 1840's (Mark MaWatt qut in Gregg
|II. Writing beyond the Ending:Jane Eyre
"By turning a classic nineteenth-century novel
inside out and giving its voiceless character an explanatory story, Rhys
has constructed a critical examination of romantic thralldom and marital
power--internalized and external institutions that support gender inequality."
"By a maneuver of encirclement (entering the
story before) and leverage (prying the story open), Rhys ruptures Jane
Eyre. She returns us to a framework far from the triumphant individualism"
of the character of Jane Eyre by concentrating on the colonial situations¡K.
Wide Sargasso Sea states that the closures and precisions of any tale are
purchased at the expense of the muted, even unspoken narrative,
which writing beyond the the ending will release. ('Remember,' Doris
lessing reminds us, 'that for all the books we have in print, there are
as many that have never reached print, have never been written down.'"
(46) --Rachel Blau DuPlessis
|III. What does Jean Rhys do and fail to
do in constructing female subjectivities?
If she presents the creole women's difficult
positions pretty well, is she fair to the Black subjects in the Caribbean
area? e.g. her presentation of Christophine
Social background (in
& out of the text)
Background on postslavery Caribbean:
Woodville Marshall argues that the freedpersons were "disappointed
that the emancipation apparently promised by the Abolition of Slavery Act
of 1833 had not come, and [they were] " continually harassed by masters
who attempted by various legal and illegal contrivances to reduce the small
portion of 'free time' which the Abolition Act had decreed" the effects
of slave emancipation on members of the white plantocracy."
Gender relationships -- "halfway house" (p. 96);
marriage and inheritance
Racial relationships in the text-- among the black
Caribbean, the Creoles, and the English.
Their influence in the text on
Racial and Gender problems mentioned in the text:
Annette and then Antoinette,
Antoinette relationship with Tia,
Antoinette and Rochester
Backgrounds on Race:
I. white masters, New & Old: Mr.
Luttrells p. 17; death of Mr. Lutrell
on Gender revealed through letters and conversation:
p. 26 (New masters after the Emancipation
of slaves) [Mr. Mason -- p. 32; p. 35]
II. White against creole: e.g.
p. 17; Aunt Cora's husband 30
III. Black against creole: poor
"white cockcroaches" p. 23
about the Cosways: p. 28-29; Daniel Cosway's
letter pp. 96-99
about Mason's marriage: 29-30
Gender: Rochester's Marriage and Inheritance: p.