Charlotte Bronte plays with gender archetypes in shaping the relationship that lies at the heart of her novel. Both Jane and Rochester possess unconscious qualities that are both feminine and masculine which result in a syzygy, or a wholeness of the unconscious. They are two fragmented selves who complete one another. By fusing these two elements, the masculine(animus) in Jane and the feminine (anima) in Rochester, Bronte shows us a new intimacy. In Jane Eyre, she has created a romance that transcends the ordinary and becomes mythic.
A patriarchal society is a world in which men are the sole decision makers and hold positions of power. As a result, women are introduced to a world made by men, and a history refined by a man 's actions. In Jean Rhys 's Wide Sargasso Sea, conceptions of gender are purposefully problematized. Women characters such as Antoinette and Christophine are pitilessly exposed to constraints of an imperial world.Wide Sargasso Sea presents a modern form of feminism which takes into account the intricacy of male-female interactions to find that efforts to surpass gender norms are despairing.
This stands in stark contrast to what Miss Elizabeth Bennett wants. Mrs Bennett wants her daughters to marry because it’s thea only way for them to solidfy that they will have food on their plates and a roof over their head. Mr. Collins is Mr. Bennetts brother and is set to inherit his estate when he dies. He comes to visit in the middle of the book and his main intentions are to ask on of the daughters to marry him and to observe what he will in time own. Mrs. Bennett says in response to all this “Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousnd a year. What a fine thing for our girls!” (57, Austen) The single man she speaks of his Mr. Collins, the Bennett kids uncle. Austen describes Mr. Collins as a self retious kind of man who thinks he is above the Benntt’s just because he is set to inherrit their estate. This gives him a villeness quality. Austen is commenting on the blindness of Mrs. Bennett to the qualitys of Marraige. She only shes Mr. Collins as money but Elizabeth sees him as a bad person to spend the rest of her life with and theirfore turns down his marraige purposal. Which causes trouble between her and her mother. This is the best example of the contrast in what the two women see as the meaning of Marriage.
Masculinity is an odd concept, because in many ways it is representative of strength and power. However, it is also represented through pop culture, literature, media, etc. as being rather fragile. In feminist literature, we see this fragility come through at incredible rates. While simply looking at a couple of novels, it is possible to evaluate how the power dynamic of masculinity puts up its walls when facing the smallest threats to its power. Through analysis of Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, it is possible to see how the figureheads of masculinity panic as soon as they are posed with the smallest threat. The protagonists of both stories are categorized as “mad” or “abnormal” throughout the course of each respective plot. They are placed there under the pretenses that this classification is what is best for them because it allows them to get the help they need and deserve in order to get better. However, these declarations of madness are really born from the infringement of both characters upon the pre-established patterns of masculinity and the panic that ensues from the male voice as a result of this deviance from traditional norms.
Throughout the novel of ‘Jane Eyre’ a colonialism and isolation are reflected throughout the novel, mainly through the treatment of Bertha Mason in Jane Eyre as she is cruelly locked in the attic due to her husband, Mr Rochester deeming her as insane. Bertha is described in a demon like manner whereas Jane represents a rebellious young woman who can be closely linked to a modern woman with the values and independence the contemporary readers possess. Jane does not represent any of the desired values by Victorians as Jane stands up to Rochester and acts as his equal rather than his lesser half. The presentation of Bertha being demonic was also highlighted by Solomon as she ‘represent[s] the flames of hell fire’¹ showing the devilish manner Bertha is presented in and the mistreatment of her as an individual, however, it also shows the historical views towards the mentally ill as Bertha isn’t seen to have a sickness but rather she is possessed. Fire is also associated with heat like Bertha as she is aligned with the ‘hot’ West Indies. Bertha is seen as villain as she constantly jeopardises Jane and Rochester’s future, however she can be seem to catalyse Janes personal development and self-awareness due to the positions Jane is left in due to Berthas presence.
Written towards the end of her career in 1966, Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea features the creole woman, hybridity, loss of identity, and madness. She reimagines history and uses literary tradition to suit her voice and what she wants to articulate. Rhys writes, or elaborates on the history of Charlotte Brontë’s Bertha or “the madwoman in the attic” in the 19th century novel Jane Eyre, and gives her the voice she was denied with Brontë. Instead of the “animalistic” fiery woman who was negatively portrayed because of her “madness,” Rhys allows the reader to understand the history that caused the wounds Bertha bore. As Burns says, “Rhys’s novel consistently undermines stereotypes by illustrating their constructed, sociological basis” (22). Rhys sets up explanations for the actions of her characters and challenges readers’ notions of the ideologies about blacks, creoles, and life in the tropics. Rhys shows that Antoinette is not to be thought of as a monster as she is portrayed in Jane Eyre but rather—a woman who had dreams, fears, desires, and hopes of finding her identity and place in her world. The transformation of the identity of the mad Creole Bertha Rochester to Antoinette Cosway, illustrates how Rhys fills the void that Brontë left by affording Bertha her side of the story. When Rhys decided to write the history of Bertha she uncovered the colonist ideology that is seen in Jane Eyre. In Jane Eyre Bertha is considered “other” and in keeping with colonialism the
The theme of isolation is explored in Bronte’s novel; Jane Eyre. This theme is also developed in The Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys. Both pieces present different types of isolation, such as isolation due to location and the isolation of a character due to their social status, such as Jane’s status as a governess. The various ways in which isolation is present in each of the texts show how inescapable and unavoidable isolation is for the characters in both Jane Eyre and The Wide Sargasso, with it being present in such a large way in their lives.
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
Once married, Mr. Rochester also gained financial dominance over Antoinette. This creates a dependence on her husband for survival, thus even if she wants to leave, she has no means of support. As their relationship worsens, Mr. Rochester renames Antoinette as ‘Bertha’. In essence, Mr. Rochester is disassembling Antoinette’s identify, and building her into his own new colonial property. All of these levels of dependence show that Mr.
Despite all his faults in Jane Eyre, the one virtue he maintains in that story is sorely lacking in the Wide Sargasso Sea, his personal integrity. “Nor was I anxious to know what was happening behind the thin partition which divided us from my wife’s bedroom” (Rhys 140). “You bring that worthless girl to play with next door and you talk and laugh and love so that she hear everything. You meant her to hear.’ ‘Yes that didn’t just happen. I meant it’” (Rhys 154). A man who is capable of treating Antoinette in such a way, of purposefully “breaking her up” as Christophine would say, makes one wonder if he is even capable of redemption in Jane Eyre. His little encounter with Amélie could be ascribed to his intoxication on the voodoo love potion, though by the time he sleeps with Amélie many hours have passed including a trip to the ruined house and a nap in its eerie surroundings. Furthermore, Rochester’s actions are inherently selfish. Motivated solely by greed, he seems to be unwilling to let Antoinette have even a small portion of happiness. He had the option to leave with at least half the dowry and let her move on with her life, but chooses instead to keep both her money and mind locked away in the attic of a cold, colorless castle. Regardless of whether this depiction of our Mr. Rochester is canon or not, Jean Rhys effectively makes us despise the new Rochester all by solely changing the
Jane Austen’s novel is commanded by women; Pride and Prejudice explores the expectations of women in a society that is set at the turn of the 19th century. Throughout the plot, Austen’s female characters are all influenced by their peers, pressures from their family, and their own desires. The social struggle of men and women is seen throughout the novel. Characters, like Elizabeth, are examples of females not acting as proper as women were supposed to, while other women like Mrs. Bennett allow themselves to be controlled by men and society. Mr. Collins is a representation of the struggles males deal with in a novel dominated by women. The theme of marriage is prominent during Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Marriage can be examined in
In 1966, Jean Rhys published her novel ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’. The story depicts the life of Antoinette Cosway, her marriage to a mysterious Englishman, and her eventual descent into madness. The story is a prequel to ‘Jane Ayre’ by Charlotte Brontë, and gives the woman in the attic a voice. This essay looks at the use of narrative in ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’, and evaluates how this informs the interpreted meaning of the text.
In Jean Rhys' novel Wide Sargasso Sea, whether Antoinette Cosway really goes mad in the end is debatable. Nevertheless, it is clear that her life is tragic. The tragedy comes from her numerous pursuits for love and a sense of belonging, and her failure at each and every one of these attempts.
With an attempt to distinguish between the old and the new, Charlotte Bronte creates the character of Bertha Mason as the exhibition of female repression and desire frequently found in the East. Bertha Rochester is the emblem of Eastern society, one which the British see as static and barbaric, and Jane Eyre is representative of the Western Civilization. In Reaches of Empire, Suvendrini Perera argues that "if the barely human prisoner caged in the Thornfield attic is the truest expression of women's anger and aspiration . . . [it is overlooked] that she is also the racial Other incarnate - a bestial, violent creature with an inordinate sexual appetite, caught in the colonized West Indies and confined 'for her own good' by a master who has appropriated both her body and her wealth" (82). If the reader only sees Bertha as the surrogate of Jane, one neglects to take note of the enriching importance of the text's suppression of Bertha. Charlotte Bronte presents Bertha as a sexually vigorous woman. This can be seen when Rochester indirectly describes
The mad woman is written to express the author’s anxiety. In Wide Sargasso Sea, Jane Eyre does not exist. Jean Rhys created the opposition binary between men and women instead of women and women. Compared to the idea that the mad woman and Jane Eyre are actually in the same female camp, Yang Mei has conducted a study that is concerned about the group of female but the mad female. As she wrote, “the study on the construction of female madness is intended to reveal patriarchy and its male-centered medical system deprive women of discourse right by constructing female madness” (51), she looked into the feminism problems by linking the madness to patriarchy. Li YuanYuan’s view can be a conclusion of these discussions, she held the opinion that “the two novels are both influenced by Female Literature development stage and Cultural traits, and the narrative voice and methods allow the female culture to continue” (169). From these studies, we can know that the discussion about feminism is even more popular among the scholars, and scholars explore Bertha’s madness from the angle of feminism, which indicates that scholars admit Bertha’s