Jane Eyre : A Deep Secret Rooted Within Its Very Foundation

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Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is a novel that has a deep secret rooted within its very foundation. Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea often seen as a prequel to Jane Eyre (as it is set a time that precedes the events of the novels) sets out to unearth the secrets that are hidden within Jane Eyre; it fills in the chasm that exists in Jane Eyre by providing the history of Edward Rochester’s Creole wife Bertha Mason nee Antoinette Cosway. In a 1979 interview with Elizabeth Vreeland Rhys explained her reason for writing Wide Sargasso Sea: I thought, why should she think Creole women are lunatics and all that? What a shame to make Rochester’s first wife, Bertha, the awful madwoman....She seemed such a poor ghost. I thought I’d try to write her a life. (235) Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea is similar to Brontë’s Jane Eyre in that they are both novels made up of three parts; the novels both deal with issues of domination and independence that are influenced by the gothic .Wide Sargasso Sea gives an account of Rochester’s marriage in Jamaica; in doing so it reveals a complex web of relationships, social structures, and lives from the colonial island world that are overlooked and abandoned in Jane Eyre; as explained by Homi Bhabha the “histories we choose to remember and recount” (57) are often biased, thrusting aside cultures and people believed to be inferior and less important by the Eurocentric world view. Wide Sargasso Sea is a postcolonial Caribbean gothic novel that gives voice to

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