Creole as a ‘Third Space’ in Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea
Jean Rhys’ novel Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) depicts Antoinette Cosway, a white creole girl and descendent of the colonizers, torn between her white creole identity and her affiliation with and attachment to the colonized, colored people of postcolonial Jamaica. Antoinette is neither fully accepted by the blacks nor by the white European colonizers. She continuously struggles to negotiate between the completely opposing expectations and spaces of black Jamaican and white European culture. Consequently, Antoinette precipitates into a state of ‘in-betweenness’ as she loses her sense of belonging to either culture.
Antoinette’s occupation of a hybrid position dismantles the stable binary of white/black, colonizer/colonized. Hybridity interrogates and deconstructs the western hegemonic assumption of stable subjectivity and meaning. Destabilising the notion of the self and the Other as envisioned by the western grand narratives hybridity proposes that the self is constructed by multiple ideologies and multiple discourses at the same time. Antoinette’s frustration and instability stem from her inability to belong to any particular community and culture. As a white creole, she oscillates between the European world of her ancestors and the Caribbean culture into which she is born. The fact that she is born in Jamaica as a white creole with a European background problematizes her identity belonging to neither of them fully thereby creating a hybrid status. Rhys through Antoinette’s ‘in-between space’ or a ‘Third Space’, as Homi K. Bhabha argues, takes a position that identity is ambivalent and crucially challenged in the hegemonic colonial setting.
I propose to argue that Antoinett...
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