Examine the Ways in Which Rhys Demonstrates How Women Are Victims of a Patriarchal Society in Wide Sargasso Sea.

Decent Essays
Examine the ways in which Rhys demonstrates how women are victims of a patriarchal society in Wide Sargasso Sea.
A patriarchal society is one whereby men are the decision makers and hold positions of power and prestige. Patriarchy refers to a societal structure whereby men are dominant not in number or in force but in their access to status related power and decision making power. In these societies, women are presented with an interpretation of the world made by men, and a history of the world defined by men’s actions. Rhys presents her interpretation and opinions on first-wave feminism in Wide Sargasso Sea. Second wave feminism and beyond suggests that men exploit women in nearly every aspect of their lives. Radical feminists define
…show more content…
According to English custom, Antoinette is financially dependent on Mr Rochester, as he controls all her wealth. In Part Three of the novel where the novel is described from Antoinette’s point of view, she describes the key to the attic where she is kept prisoner as “the colour of fire and sunset”, indicating that fire is a symbol of power. The novel ends with her dreaming of setting the house on fire, which is the only tool she knows how to use to express her rage. With a candle in her hand, Antoinette claims, “Now I know why I was brought here and what I have to do”. As she is now stripped of her name and her country, the candle in her hand represents the only empowerment she is able to preserve. By Rhys leaving the novella as a cliff-hanger, and not allowing us to witness the fire, she suggests that patriarchy is too strong to break through and that therefore women cannot fulfil their desires and are destined to be silenced. This idea also portrays Antoinette to be different from the passionate and fiery, extremely feminist, personality she is suggested in other parts of the novella to posses.

Wide Sargasso Sea is a three part narrative, the middle part being in the first person voice of Rochester, and the other to being the voice of Antoinette. This narrative structure skews ideals of patriarchy by challenging concepts of narrative authority, particularly of a white male authority, as Rochester is inserted in
    Get Access