Comparing Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea Essay

Comparing Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea Essay

Length: 3183 words (9.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Comparing Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea


Jean Rhys obviously had Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre in mind while writing Wide Sargasso Sea. Each novel contains events that echo other events or themes in the other. The destruction of Coulibri at the beginning of Wide Sargasso Sea reminds the reader of the fire at Thornfield towards the end of Jane Eyre. While each scene refers to events in its own book and clarifies events in its companion, one cannot conclude that Rhys simply reconstructed Thornfield's fall in Coulibri's. Though they exhibit some similarities, to directly compare these two scenes without considering their impact on the novels as whole works would be ridiculous. Each scene's main importance, and contribution to the overall intertextual meaning, lies elsewhere in the two works, not simply within the confines of the scenes themselves.

The similarities between the two fire scenes might lead one to suspect that they are in some way parallel, yet their differences discount this oversimplified view. Both fires are set by arsonists described as insane. Bronte's Bertha is "the mad lady, who was as cunning as a witch" (Bronte 435). Rhys's Antoinette recalls "a horrible noise sprang up" from the attacking freedmen, "like animals howling, but worse" (Rhys 38). This madness, however, serves different purposes for each scene. Bronte uses madness to further degrade Bertha to the level of bestiality and insanity, a theme which she develops from the very moment the character is introduced until her fiery death in the destruction of Thornfield. By reducing Bertha to a single dimension, Bronte uses Bertha not as a character but as a tool with which to manipulate the flow of the plot. Rhys, however, uses madness toward a diffe...


... middle of paper ...


...cott. "Fire and Eyre: Charlotte Bronte's War of Earthly Elements." The Brontes: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Ian Gregor. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1970. 110-36.

Macpherson, Pat. Reflecting on Jane Eyre. London: Routledge, 1989.

McLaughlin, M.B. "Past or Future Mindscapes: Pictures in Jane Eyre." Victorian Newsletter 41 (1972): 22-24.

Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea. London: Penguin, 1968.

Sarvan, Charles. ¡§Flight, Entrapment, and Madness in Jean Rhys¡¦ Wide Sargasso Sea.¡¨ The International Fiction Review. Vol 26.1&2:1999:82-96.

Solomon, Eric. "Jane Eyre: Fire and Water." College English 25 (1964): 215-217.

Staley, F. Thomas. "Jean Rhys." Dictionary of Literary Biography, British Novelists, 1890 -1929: Modernists. Detroit: Gale, 1985.

Wyndham, F. Introduction. Wide Sargasso Sea. By Jean Rhys. London: Penguin, 1996. 1-15.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Comparing Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

- Comparing Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte In the novels Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, the theme of loss can be viewed as an umbrella that encompasses the absence of independence, society or community, love, and order in the lives of the two protagonists. They deal with their hardships in diverse ways. However, they both find ways to triumph over their losses and regain their independence. The women in both novels endure a loss of personal freedom, both mental, and physical....   [tags: Wide Sargasso Sea Jane Eyre Essays]

Powerful Essays
1351 words (3.9 pages)

Comparing Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea Essay

- Comparing Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea Jean Rhys obviously had Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre in mind while writing Wide Sargasso Sea. Each novel contains events that echo other events or themes in the other. The destruction of Coulibri at the beginning of Wide Sargasso Sea reminds the reader of the fire at Thornfield towards the end of Jane Eyre. While each scene refers to events in its own book and clarifies events in its companion, one cannot conclude that Rhys simply reconstructed Thornfield's fall in Coulibri's....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Powerful Essays
3183 words (9.1 pages)

Jane Eyre and Wise Sargasso Sea Essay examples

- "Inequitable power relations based on gender and /or class and /or nationality are endemic to the human condition. Any aspiration towards equitable relations and/or social orders requires the undermining of power dynamics and groping towards humane modes of being. Explore in the relation to two texts articulating a clear stance on the issue." In both novels Jane Eyre written by Charlotte Bronte and Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, it is evident that inequitable power relations based on gender/class/nationality plays a prominent role within the human livelihood....   [tags: prose essay, Charlotte Bronte, Jean Rhys]

Powerful Essays
1020 words (2.9 pages)

The Theme of Misunderstanding in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea

- The Theme of Misunderstanding in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea In both classical novels Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte a Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys the theme of misunderstanding is represented very widely. Both Victorian era dramatical romantic fictions have some impact in them from their respective authors. Bronte's lonliness is transformed into Jane Eyre's Character whom mostly all characters in the novel misunderstand her until they truly get to recognize her which is towards the end of the novel....   [tags: Literature Analysis, Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea]

Powerful Essays
877 words (2.5 pages)

Essay about The Sargasso Sea as an Underlying Metaphor in Wide Sargasso Sea

- The Sargasso Sea as an Underlying Metaphor in Wide Sargasso Sea Why did Jean Rhys name her novel about the Creole madwoman in the attic from Jane Eyre after a mysterious body of water in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. As there is no mention made of the Sargasso Sea in the novel itself, one might wonder why she chose to title her novel after it. In a 1958 letter to a friend and colleague, she describes her changing titles for the novel: “I have no title yet. ‘The First Mrs. Rochester’ is not right....   [tags: Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys]

Powerful Essays
1162 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Shades of Grey in Wide Sargasso Sea

- Some believe the world is black and white but there isn’t always a clear person to blame for heartbreak or hardship. It is easier to blame something on one person but it’s not always realistic. Rhys portrays this “grey world” theme in Wide Sargasso Sea with her main characters: Rochester and Antoinette. She uses two unique connections to show how the two are intertwined: the first by the racism that they both experience and the second by their own actions/rationalizations that hurt each other portrayed through Rhys’ use of alternation perspectives....   [tags: Wide Sargasso Sea Essays]

Free Essays
953 words (2.7 pages)

Racial Tensions in Wide Sargasso Sea Essay examples

- Racial tension is a major theme in “Wide Sargasso Sea”, with the mix of whites and blacks and white/blacks in the novel creating a cut-throat atmosphere which creates a hazardous place for Jamaica’s denizens. Many racial situations occur between whites and blacks, which Americans are use to due to the dangerous troubles between blacks and whites in the 1950s with a clear enemy: the whites. But Rhys tackles a more important point: an overall racial hostility between everybody living in Jamaica during the novels time period with no one to blame....   [tags: Wide Sargasso Sea Essays]

Powerful Essays
1179 words (3.4 pages)

Jean Rhys 's Wide Sargasso Sea Essay

- In jean Rhys “wide Sargasso Sea examine” the themes of race and gender in the 'othering ' of Antoinette. While exploring the concept the ‘Other’ In Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea we can begin to untangle the complexity of the forms of isolation and alienation that becomes to be considered the key characteristic of ‘the other’ and clearly represented in our protagonist Antoinette, who is perceived by her Jamaican society as not belonging. The complexities of Antoinette character comes from a culturally constructed identity that is displayed as being fundamentally different than the others around her....   [tags: Black people, Race, Wide Sargasso Sea]

Powerful Essays
1107 words (3.2 pages)

Colonising Within the Marriage in Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea Essay

- Colonising Within the Marriage in Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea      Jean Rhys' complex text, Wide Sargasso Sea, came about as an attempt to re-invent an identity for Rochester's mad wife, Bertha Mason, in Jane Eyre, as Rhys felt that Bronte had totally misrepresented Creole women and the West Indies: 'why should she think Creole women are lunatics and all that. What a shame to make Rochester's wife, Bertha, the awful madwoman, and I immediately thought I'd write a story as it might really have been.' (Jean Rhys: the West Indian Novels, p144).  It is clear that Rhys wanted to reclaim a voice and a subjectivity for Bertha, the silenced Creole, and to subvert the assumptions made by the Victoria...   [tags: Wide Sargasso Sea Essays]

Powerful Essays
1147 words (3.3 pages)

Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea Essay

- Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea has developed a character for the depth of time. Antoinette's childhood story of outmost unhappiness, contrasted with her attempt at love, and finally the arrival to her concluded state depicts the single condemnation of her soul. Misguided and unloved, Antoinette is forced to raise herself in a world of fear and hatred. As a young woman, her only happiness is found with nature, her place of peace in the world. Yet when her chance at love arises, Antoinette challenges the very destination of her life and hopes to undo her already doomed demise....   [tags: Wide Sargasso Sea Rhys]

Powerful Essays
1298 words (3.7 pages)