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Comparing Wide Sargasso Sea and Jane Eyre Essay

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Authors, Jean Rhys and Charlotte Bronte constructed their novels in completely different time periods and came from different influences in writing. Jean Rhys’s fiction book, Wide Sargasso Sea is an interesting relation to Jane Eyre. The female character of Jane Eyre forms into a furiously, passionate, independent young woman. The female character of Jean Rhys’s illustration is a character that Jane will know further on as Rochester’s crazy wife who is bolted in an attic. Jean Rhys further studies this character, where as Charlotte Bronte approved that it was left explained (Thorpe 175). Antoinette, considerably like Jane, evolves in a world with minimal amount of love to offer. Both these women are taken cared of as children by relatives, both had a lonely childhood, and both had lost their first friend. However, Jane is capable in defining herself by refusing the trademarks others place on her and shape her identity, while Antoinette is puzzled by having a body, spirit and life. She is mostly ignored by almost all except for Josephine and has very small communication with others, which puts a lock on her feeling of identity. Schapiro writes Wide Sargasso Sea “explores psychological conditions of profound isolation, self-division . . . the condition is bound up with another of the novels characteristically modernist themes: the conviction that betrayal is built into the fabric of life" (84).


Wide Sargasso Sea persistently proposes problems of its concepts of gender. Female characters in Rhys's novels are cruelly exposed to the gendered anf financial constraints of an imperial world" (Humm 187). This idea of an imperial world is constructed and controlled by the “white men.” While Jane is rejected, the outcome for Antoinet...


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... Maggie. "Third World Feminisms: Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea." Practicing Feminist Criticism: an introduction. Great Britain: Prentice Hall, 1995.
Madden, Diana. "Wild Child, Tropical Flower, Mad Wife: Female Identity in Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea." International Women's Writing: New Landscapes of Identity. Ed. Anne E. Brown and Marjanne E. Gooze. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995.
Rhys, Jean. A Norton Critical Edition: Wide Sargasso Sea. Ed. Judith L. Raiskin. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999.
Schapiro, Barbara Ann. "Boundaries and Betrayal in Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea." Literature and the Relational Self. Ed. Jeffrey Berman. New York: New York University Press, 1994.
Thorpe, Michael. "'The Other Side': Wide Sargasso Sea and Jane Eyre." A Norton Critical Edition: Wide Sargasso Sea. Ed. Judith L. Raiskin. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999.



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