"Once I Would Have Gone Back...But Not Any Longer"

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"We need, therefore, a kind of parallel history of, let us say, victimsation, which would counter the history of success and victory. To memorize the victims of history...should be a task for all at the end of this century" pg 157

"Once I Would Have Gone Back....But Not Any Longer": Nostalgia and Narrative Ethics in Wide Sargasso Sea

There is a reason for everything, a reason for all actions. Literature would fail if there were characters running around acting without a purpose. Flat characters do not make a compelling read. In my studies as an actress, I have learned one very valuable lesson: you cannot play emotions. The same, I believe, can hold true for a novel, for what is a book but a script of someone's life? (Rhys writes that "for me, (and for you, I hope) she must be right on stage) (158).The reader does need to see what happened to Antoinette that brought her to England and affected her mind so. The reason is not so that they will sympathize with her, for we all react differently to characters (for instance: I have spoken to many on the character of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series. His character was of great discussion lately, due to the series' recent end. Some feel sympathetic for him, others feel no empathy). We need to understand why Antoinette goes mad, but we do not need to sympathize with her. How un-compelling would Les Miserables have been if the character of Javert had been presented as just evil? There needed to be the backstory of his childhood and heritage in order for the reader to see him as more than one-dimensional. And some people still think he's an evil bastard, but at least they understand why

My question to you is: for whome do you more feel, Jane or Antoinette? And why? What other literary "villians" do you feel for? Which ones do you not and why?

 

*yes, yes I know Dr Jerz, this is drama as literature, not to be envisioned on stage, but I am going to make a fairly valid point.

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5 Comments

I feel more for Antoinette than I do for Jane. They both had less than pleasant pasts, but Jane at least was able to get past that and still lead a normal life. Antoinette, however, was trapped in her horrible life. Perhaps if she had a slightly different personality she would have been able to overcome it as Jane had, but it would have been much more difficult. She was almost forced to become insane.

As for other literary villains, though I know Harry Potter is not exactly considered literature, I have to use this as an example. I "feel" for Severus Snape, but I don't "feel" for Tom Riddle, or Vodemort. I guess the main difference for me is that Snape, though very most definitely a gray area character, did redeem himself. Voldemort, however, never did. He was irredeemably evil--though it is at least somewhat understandable that he turned out that way.

I feel more for Antoinette than I do for Jane. They both had less than pleasant pasts, but Jane at least was able to get past that and still lead a normal life. Antoinette, however, was trapped in her horrible life. Perhaps if she had a slightly different personality she would have been able to overcome it as Jane had, but it would have been much more difficult. She was almost forced to become insane.

As for other literary villains, though I know Harry Potter is not exactly considered literature, I have to use this as an example. I "feel" for Severus Snape, but I don't "feel" for Tom Riddle, or Vodemort. I guess the main difference for me is that Snape, though very most definitely a gray area character, did redeem himself. Voldemort, however, never did. He was irredeemably evil--though it is at least somewhat understandable that he turned out that way.

I feel more for Antoinette than I do for Jane. They both had less than pleasant pasts, but Jane at least was able to get past that and still lead a normal life. Antoinette, however, was trapped in her horrible life. Perhaps if she had a slightly different personality she would have been able to overcome it as Jane had, but it would have been much more difficult. She was almost forced to become insane.

As for other literary villains, though I know Harry Potter is not exactly considered literature, I have to use this as an example. I "feel" for Severus Snape, but I don't "feel" for Tom Riddle, or Vodemort. I guess the main difference for me is that Snape, though very most definitely a gray area character, did redeem himself. Voldemort, however, never did. He was irredeemably evil--though it is at least somewhat understandable that he turned out that way.

I feel more for Antoinette than I do for Jane. They both had less than pleasant pasts, but Jane at least was able to get past that and still lead a normal life. Antoinette, however, was trapped in her horrible life. Perhaps if she had a slightly different personality she would have been able to overcome it as Jane had, but it would have been much more difficult. She was almost forced to become insane.

As for other literary villains, though I know Harry Potter is not exactly considered literature, I have to use this as an example. I "feel" for Severus Snape, but I don't "feel" for Tom Riddle, or Vodemort. I guess the main difference for me is that Snape, though very most definitely a gray area character, did redeem himself. Voldemort, however, never did. He was irredeemably evil--though it is at least somewhat understandable that he turned out that way.

After the 4 comments of Jen's I feel I must at least attempt to match her (what is up with the blogs today?)

Anyway, I wrote on this same article (totally didn't mean to, these things sometimes happen though.)

I didn't really feel for either Jane or Antoinette. I think they both managed their respective situations in the way that they knew how. Jane by leaving Rochester and Antoinette by going to Christophine to drug him.

For Antoinette it just didn't work as well as it did for Jane.

There are lots of literary villains out there that I feel for. Boromir (I totally misspelled that) from Lord of the Rings for example. While a minor literary villain, he still is given that role. What makes him understandable is the knowledge of his motivation.

Motivation is what I think makes or breaks villains and characters. If you don't accept the motivation, most likely you aren't going to like the character.

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