Essay about Fire in Hean Rhy´s Wide Sargasso Sea

Essay about Fire in Hean Rhy´s Wide Sargasso Sea

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(Somewhat effective but could use improvement)In life fire represents so many different physiological elements as well as multiple physical things. Its an element that has both positive and negative traits : traits that have been vital for human survival throughout time. Physically, fire can destroy, destabilize and provides an essential resource for humans. Physiologically fire can provide protection, hope, and direction. (thesis) In Jean Rhys’s novel Wide Sargasso Sea fire is the symbol used to represent the motif of trauma. This motif of trauma connects to Rhys’ theme that unless people who suffer trauma eventually learn to cope with it, it will build psychologically and will eventually be released harmfully.


The novel Wide Sargasso Sea commences with tension between the recently emancipated slaves in Jamaica and a wealthy family of mixed race landlords. This family is Antoinette’s family- they are perceived as not belonging to the community, and are despised by the native Jamaicans “I never looked at any strange negro. They hated us. They called us white cockroaches”(8). Antoinette acknowledges this ha
rotection in walls: “When I was safely home I sat close to the old wall at the end of the garden“ (8). However the physical walls only provide protection until they are burned down by the former slaves. Antoinette creates imaginary walls of protection. These walls contained her emotions, as she was full of fear. Antoinette needed them for protection against the past traumatic experiences but “....there would be nothing left but blackened walls and the mounting stone. That was always left. That could not be stolen or burned” (27). Without the physical wall, Antoinette has to face the emotion...


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..., it builds a wall, a wall that once again protects Antoinette against other people who ill treated her, and lets her be destroyed by beautiful flames.

Throughout his novel Wide Sargasso Sea, Rhys has used the element of fire to help the readers understand its significance as a psychological and physical support for Antoinette, against trauma. Subconsciously Antoinette was not able to cope with her past traumatic experiences, such as being targeted by Jamaicans, rejected by her mother and later by her husband. Rhys’ theme that unless people who suffer trauma eventually learn to cope with it, it will build psychologically and will eventually be released harmfully is expressed at the end of the novel by Antoinette burning down Rochester's house and eventually dying in the process.


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