It’s definitely very interesting to read!
- The fact it’s based upon Jane Eyre
Essentially Jean Rhys has rewritten Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. She stated that, “Bertha seemed such a poor ghost, I thought I’d like to write her a life.” I think that this is a very interesting concept that Rhys has taken and it works so well!
- Fragmentation is always a good theme to explore
This novel is told from different points of views (meaning that there really is no narrative authority throughout the book) and is focused upon the inability of Antoinette to form her own identity. There’s so many reasons why Antoinette can’t have subjectivity – such as how her family are kind of like ‘in between two worlds’ in a society where slave owners no longer exist so they don’t fit in the colonies and they also aren’t British so they don’t fit in in England. Antoinette is also a female with no education apart from ‘how to be a good housewife’ and her arranged marriage leads her to a husband who renames her refuses to allow her to have her own identity. Even the fact that despite that this book is about Antoinette, it doesn’t follow Bronte’s title style of naming the novel after the protagonist because Antoinette doesn’t have the some subjectivity that Jane has because she isn’t allowed to develop her own identity
- It really does explore the question, “In order for Jane from Jane Eyre to have her autonomy, who needs to suffer?”
In Jane Eyre, Jane gets to end up being a happy, successful, educated, wealthy wife, woman, potentially a mother etc. But Bertha has to die to allow for Jane to have this. So Wide Sargasso Sea tells the story then of Antoinette, which can be considered a critique of the 19th century feminism that was portrayed in literature. This genre allowed the female protagonist to ‘have it all’ at the end of their story, but that meant that another person had to suffer. And Wide Sargasso Sea tells us who had to suffer and what they had to go through for Jane’s story to reach its conclusion. I just think that’s very interesting