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Copy of Wide Sargasso Sea: A Post Colonial Rewrite.

Designed by Byron FitzGerald and Farisha Begum.

shahidah Kalam Id-Din

on 26 April 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Wide Sargasso Sea: A Post Colonial Rewrite.

Themes. How does Wide Sargasso Sea exemplify the notion of a postcolonial
re-mix? What specific elements (such as race, gender and class)
does this redraft (or re-mix) from the original (master) text? Created By Byron FitzGerald and Farisha Begum Wide Sargasso Sea:
A Postcolonial
Re-mix But what exactly is a 'Re-mix ? Here's what the TedTalk said!

To combine or edit existing materials to produce something new.
In literature we call this to "re-write or re-vision" It means to re-fashion or re-imagine a story. And what on earth does Postcolonial even mean??
Well this time the dictionary can help us understand this.

Of, relating to, or being the time following the establishment of independence in a colony: postcolonial economics. Ok, now that we have that in order, the question seems far more understandable. But wait.... This must mean that Wide Sargasso Sea is a Re-mix or re-vision?! Wide Sargasso Sea is a Re-write of the novel called Jane Eyre. Antionette is caught in an opressive society, where she doesnt fully fit in to any of the cultural groups. The novel has many themes of racial inequality, and deals with the harshness of displacement and assimilation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide_Sargasso_Sea But why did Jean Rhys feel the need to Re-write Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre? The novel acts as a prequel to Charlotte Brontëe's famous 1847 novel Jane Eyre. It is the story of the first Mrs. Rochester, Antoinette Cosway (known as Bertha Mason in Jane Eyre), a Creole heiress, from the time of her youth in the Caribbean to her unhappy marriage and relocation to England.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide_Sargasso_Sea Bertha Mason Antoinette Cosway Similarities Both married to Mr. Rochester.
Both are banished to a world of pain and frustration where they have no control.
"She seemed such a poor ghost, I thought I'd like to write her life." (Rhys).

Wide Sargasso Sea is regarded as ``writing back’’ to Jane Eyre and it deals with postcolonial discourse with feminist characteristics. (Unger 2008).
Both face issues of justice and social fairness.

``Rhys recognized Bertha as a poor ghost and not as a real character, and thought to write about the novel as they both go hand in hand and as her statement that the two novels belong together. Also she believed that Bertha deserved to have a real life, a real voice’’. (Unger 2008)

"'Bertha Mason is mad . . .she came of a mad family; --idiots and maniacs through three generations! Her mother, the Creole, was both a mad woman and a drunkard!-as I found out after I had wed the daughter: for they were silent on family secrets before. Bertha, like a dutiful child, copied her parent in both points . . .Oh, my experience has been heavenly, if you only knew it’ (Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre, Bronte). ``This statement has long been the source of criticism of Jane Eyre as a racist novel, since it is explicitly mentioned that Bertha's mother is "the Creole" and is both an alcoholic and a lunatic — traits which were common stereotypes regarding Creoles. There is no evidence in the novel that Bertha has ever been placed in a formal mental asylum in an attempt to discover a cure for her condition’’ Iwama (2003)
``The story of Antoinette, as quantified by the reviewers, is the story of a schizophrenic, a Creole whose search for identity leads to madness and as some would favour of the story of a woman too weak to resist the onslaught of a strong male such as Mr Rochester and whose response is escape through madness’’. Fayad (1988)
``Antoinette is a delicate and an emotionally volatile young woman with a household history of mental illness, who breaks under Rochester’s brutality and drifts into craziness. Where there’s no disbelief that she might turn insane at the end of Rhys’ novel, the reason for thus is not because the malevolent nature, but the detriment ling relationship to Rochester the transference away from everything she always knew into the cold of England’’. Deneke (2005) Reference List. Bronte, C (1987). Jane Eyre (1847). New York: W. W. Norton, 2001

Burns, T.J (2006).The Fated Modernist Heroine: Female Protagonists in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea. English 156, Brown University, 2004.

Deneke, L. (2005). Rochester and Bertha in "Jane Eyre" and "Wide Sargasso Sea": An Impossible Match. Druck und Bindung: Books on Demand GmbH, Norderstedt Germany.

Fayad, M.(1988). Unquiet Ghosts: The Struggle for Representation in Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea
MFS Modern Fiction Studies - Volume 34, Number 3, pp. 437-452

Gardiner, Judith K (1989). Rhys, Stead, Lessing and the Politics of Empathy. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1989.

Iwama, M. (2003). Bertha Mason's Madness in a Contemporary Context. Brown University.

Jenkins, H. (2001). Wide Sargasso Sea. Penguins Classics, London, England.

Mezei,K. (1987). And It Kept Its Secret: Narration, Memory, and Madness in Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea. Journal article by Kathy Mezei; Critique, Vol. 28

Rhys, Jean (1966). Wide Sargasso Sea. London: Penguin Books, 1966.

Unger, K. (2008). Jean Rhys "Wide Sargasso Sea" - Madness: the link between Bertha and Antoinette. University of Hanover. ­ English Department.

External beauty versus Internal beauty.

The Illusion of Absolute Truth Race Class Gender Differences between Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea Only a side character in Jane Eyre; Jane is the Protagonist.
In the story of Jane Eyre, Rochester's first wife.
Is completely insane and depicted like a wild animal with very bestial movements.
Has no freedom at all; is a prisoner in Mr. Rochester's attic.
Represented not as a person with her own story, but a victim . ``One of the most controversial yet essential plot elements of Charlotte Bronte's widely beloved novel, Jane Eyre, is her depiction of Bertha Mason, Mr. Rochester's first wife, a once beautiful Creole woman who is ravaged by mental illness and is hidden away, locked up in a lonely room at Thornfield. Many critics have decried Bronte's delineation of Bertha as both a racist and insensitive portrayal of insanity.’’ Iwama (2003). Antionette is the protagonist of Wide Sargasso Sea.
For much of the story she isn't even married to Rochester, but eventually ends up marrying him.
It is said that insanity is in her blood (mother goes insane).
Is unable to find peace security because of the burdens of her society.
Is culturally divided between two races that are politically, socially and culturally in conflict with one another
``Jean Rhys feels that ``Bertha Mason’’ in the novel (Jane Eyre) was falsely represented as the mad woman in the attic and decided to rewrite the novel and transforms her from being a victim into a powerful free spirited character.’’ (Gardener 1989). With Jane Eyre entirely
being set in England, it only had what races that were in England at that time. This basicially included the Englishmen. Wide Sargasso Sea being predomanintly set in Jamaica on the other hand had alot more racial tension. As a Creole woman, Antoinette's relationship to the black population combined hatred and pity (Burns 2006). She tried to get along with them, but after having her house burned down by 'blacks' and a rock thrown at her by her by her Jamaican friend Tia ("When I was close I saw the jagged stone in her hand but did not see her throw it. I did not feel it either, only something wet, running down my face. I looked at her and I saw her face crumple up as she began to cry. We stared at each other, blood on my face, tears on hers. It was if I saw myself. Like in a looking glass" (Rhys, p. 45).) This quote shows how she is unwanted by the black population, no matter how much she wants to gain safety and security among them. (Burns 2006).
Struggle of a lower social class white women living in Victorian England Themes of class and gender
Feminist literature Internal beauty VS External Beauty
Internal beauty VS External Beauty
Family. Religion. Social position.
Gender inequality. Gothic elements. Postmodern and Postcolonial feminist literature
Struggle of a Creole women in Jamaica Themes of race, class and gender British Imperialistic Decline
Nostalgia for the Past
Patriarchal Tyranny The Corrupting Power of Money Female Madness `` Antoinette Cosway, a Creole heiress, born into a repressive, colonialist society, meets a young Englishman who is "entangled" by her innocent desire and beauty. After their marriage the rumors begin, poisoning her husband against her. Caught between his demands and her own insecure sense of belonging, Antoinette is soon driven towards madness’’. Jenkins (2001) Jane Eyre has a very strong social structure to it, and in the book Jane is a women from a lower class family who is being 'courted' so to speak, by Mr. Rochester, who is of the upper class. There are very clear class differences in the novel, and much of the time Jane is made to feel uncomfortable and ill at ease. While Antoinette in WSS is made to be uncomfortable because of race and ethnicity. However,class plays a part in her meeting and eventually marrying Mr. Rochester. Jane Eyre is considered an early feminist work because of its focused on the female lead, not based on her beauty, but based upon her intelligence, moral forthright, and out-spoken manner. She represented the struggles of middle class women living in Victorian England, and shows the readers the experiences she constantly faced with problems that arise from class and gender. This is a very clear example of how the gender and class worked back then. Mr. Rochester is able to ask anything of Jane, and she is willing to comply. Because he is of upper class and a male, he holds full control and command over the conversation, he is the centerpiece. Bertha Mason in Jane Eyre. many of the above themes portrayed. ``Mr Rochester transforms Antoinette (Bertha) from a talking issue into an item, an on the other from a locked away madwoman, a lie. Mr Rochester finishes his recitation, the troubling story of his marriage in Jamaica to Antoinette Cosway ( Bertha) with this chinwag’’ Mezei (1987) From watching this video it becomes very clear that Mr. Rochester and Antionette are having problems. This quote symbolizes her fate. "Very soon she'll join all the others who know the secret and will not tell
it. Or cannot. Or try and fail because they do not know enough. . . .
She's one of them. I too can wait—for the day when she is only a
memory to be avoided, locked away, and like all memories a legend. Or
a lie. . . . "( Wide Sargasso Sea, p. 172)
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