Themes in Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys Essay examples

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Themes in Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys The main themes in Wide Sargasso Sea are slavery and entrapment, the complexity of racial identity and womanhood or feminism. In all of these themes the main character who projects them are Antoinette and Christophine. The theme slavery and entrapment is based on the ex- slaves who worked on the sugar plantations of wealthy Creoles figure prominently in Part One of the novel, which is set in the West Indies in the early nineteenth century. Although the Emancipation Act has freed the slaves by the time of Antoinette's childhood, compensation has not been granted to the island's black population, breeding hostility and resentment between servants and their white employers. Annette,…show more content…
In this manner, power structures based on race always appear to be on the brink of reversal. The theme of womanhood intertwines with issues of enslavement and madness in Rhys's novel. Ideals of proper feminine deportment are presented to Antoinette when she is a girl at the convent school. Two of the other Creole girls, Miss Germaine and Helene de Plana, embody the feminine virtues that Antoinette is to learn and emulate: namely, beauty, chastity and mild, even-tempered manners. Mother St. Justine's praises of the "poised" and "imperturbable" sisters suggest an ideal of womanhood that is at odds with Antoinette's own hot and fiery nature. Indeed, it is Antoinette's passion that contributes to her melancholy and implied madness. Rhys selected the first decade of 19th century as the best possible period in which her novel would take place. The story is set just after the emancipation of the slaves, in that uneasy time when racial relations in the Caribbean were at their most strained. So, the combination of the period used the themes exposed by Rhys go hand in hand, being the themes a consequence of the period used to manifest such themes. They both are relevant to one another and will be as far as this novel goes. The main symbols that are identified are a bird, forest, trees, and her garden at Coulibri Estate. The bird in this novel is Coco, Annette's pet parrot, enacts Antoinette's own doom. With his wings clipped by Mr.
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