Being the Meat in the Sandwich: Implications of the double colonisation of empire and patriarchy by the female characters in Wide Sargasso Sea

2201 WordsJul 17, 20189 Pages
One of the many ways that postcolonial literature accomplishes the task of challenging the hegemony of western imperialism is through the use of a ‘canonical counter-discourse,’ a strategy whereby ‘a post-colonial writer takes up a character or characters, or the basic assumptions of a canonical text [where a colonialist discourse is developed directly or indirectly], and unveils [its colonialist] assumptions, subverting the text for post-colonial purposes’. (Tiffin, 1987) Such a revolutionary literary project is evidently realised in Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, a prequel that ‘writes back the centre’ of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847). Rhys is categorical about her conscious authorial intention: ‘I immediately thought I'd write a…show more content…
This is evident in both the decay of Coulibri, a once-rich plantation, as well as in the riot staged by black workers out of the fear that they will soon be replaced by East-Indian coolies. Such socio-political turmoil is a direct consequence of a long period of colonisation that has given rise to serious fragmentations in society, marginalisation of certain disadvantaged groups in the interest of a materially privileged minority, a long history of oppression, miscegenation so on and so forth that lead to ongoing conflict. The emancipation of the slaves, on the one hand, resulted in the decay of the former slave owing families such as Cosway’s that lost their former privileged status in society, and on the other hand, it led to the growth of a counter-hegemony by the former slaves against the former salve owning creole minority as vengeance for their former oppressive conduct. Antoinette is a prima facie victim of this anti-colonialist neo-hegemony which is an unfortunate consequence of western colonialism. Racial impurity resulting from miscegenation is perceived in many

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