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Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Decent Essays
Rochester and Antoinette are two characters that are both outsiders of their respective communities. Antoinette is excluded from both the white and black communities, and eventually it leads to her instability and uneasiness throughout the novel. While being excluded from the community isn’t dreadful enough, she suffers being called a “white cockroach” (23) and becoming an aberration through her own husband’s eyes, Rochester. Moreover, Rochester is ignored by his own family. His isolation stems from the letter he sends to his father, stating that “I will never be a disgrace to you or my dear brother the son you love” (70). His bitterness implies that his father favors his brother much more than he favors Rochester. He is also separated from the black population, as he tells Antoinette that he would never “hug and kiss [a black person]” (91). His haughty behavior eventually confines him from the population on the island. Ultimately, Antoinette’s and Rochester’s struggles pushes these characters to a new extreme in which it pushes Rochester to lock his wife in the attic and Antoinette to “write [her] name in fire red” (53) by the end of the novel.
Throughout Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys magnifies the themes of madness and power by analyzing Rochester’s and Antoinette’s interactions with one another to ultimately teach a lesson that can be interpreted in many different ways. Their downfalls are created by the catastrophic conflicts with each other and the environment around
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