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In Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys depicts her female characters as fundamentally disempowered in the face of conventional marriage and the codes that write themselves into this institution. Researching contemporary feminist or gender theory, discuss how Rhys’ critique of marriage works within or against the other forms of political critique that we see in the novel.

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Gilbert and Gubar point out further that the use of the mirror itself, (the impenetrable wall of separation), in women's writing can be seen to represent patriarchal judgement. Indeed, Rhys in Wide Sargasso Sea, illustrates how Antoinette's identity is so completely diminished through patriarchal oppression that when she looks in the mirror she does not recognise her own reflection:

A feminist approach to Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea

Rhys's great achievement in her re-writing of the Bronte text is her creation of an external double to the madwoman, which transforms the bestial Bertha into an individual woman who has been 'othered' by imperialistic and patriarchal oppression [5]. Rhys gives Antoinette a voice, and restores her humanity. Her madness is shown throughout the novel to be a reaction to oppression, rather than congenital, as the novel Jane Eyre implies. Rhys illustrates the injustice of Rochester's assumption that the mother's madness must inevitably be passed on to the daughter. Furthermore she illustrates how Rochester himself forces Antoinette to become this double of her mother. For in Wide Sargasso Sea Rochester's rejection of Antoinette is the final straw in her isolated, painful, emotionally-deprived life, which causes her to adopt an exact mirroring of her mother's expression, (a frown - 'deep as if it had been cut with a knife') which is symbolic of despair. Like her mother, Antoinette suffers a breakdown of selfhood, which allows Rochester to label her 'Bertha'; the stereotype of madness created by patriarchal society. The transition of the free-spirited Creole girl, who had 'the sun in her' (p130), to the bestial Bertha is the chilling metamorphosis which leads us through suspended time back to the other novel - Jane Eyre.

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In this study of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea I aim to consider the representation of the doubleness of selfhood, and how both between and within the two novels a continuous mirroring of double identity, (reflecting like a hall of mirrors), can be traced. I will concentrate chiefly on the duality of the female personae, although I will also consider briefly the concept of doubling across gender boundaries.

Wide Sargasso Sea can be used to draw even more aspects of imprisonment in the ..

madness in Beloved and Wide Sargasso Sea

Almost every character that is met in Jane Eyre depicts a form of imprisonment whether it be due to their class, economic status, mental state or literal imprisonment. Wide Sargasso Sea can be used to draw even more aspects of imprisonment in the form of Bertha Mason’s life and journey to Thornfield. This paper will also look at the way criticism has brought Jane Eyre’s voice to the forefront and silenced Bertha Mason’s and how through intertextuality both voices are harmonized. Aspects of imperialism in the text can be used to look at the novels. Approaching Jane Eyre with a feminist criticism will allow a look at how women are portrayed in Jane Eyre as well as look at Wide Sargasso Sea to discover Bertha Mason’s journey to her life with Rochester at Thornfield.

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In Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys depicts her female characters as fundamentally disempowered in the face of conventional marriage and the codes that write themselves into this institution. Researching contemporary feminist or gender theory, discuss how Rhys’ critique of marriage works within or against the other forms of political critique that we see in the novel.