November 1, 2007

Space/Time Continuum

"As long as Antoinette can remember and order the events of her memories into a temporal or causal sequence, create even an illusion of sequence and maintain a measured space and time, then she can hold her life and self together."
Kathy Mezei, "'And it Kept its Secret': Narration, Memory, and Madness in Jean Rhys' WIde Sargasso Sea"

I'd never really thought about holding your life together based on the ability to navigate your way through time and space. Kathy Mezei's claim that that is what Antoinette is doing makes perfect sense.

While Antoinette is still within her comfort zone (on the island with an unaware, un-judging husband) she has it all together. Not once is it implied that Antoinette has any sanity left in her when she is in England - in either Rhys or Brontë. The fact that she was comfortable kept some semblance of "the events of her memories [in] a temporal or causal sequence."

When she steps outside that comfort zone - I think first brought on by her visit to Christophine - she starts to lose it. When she visits Christophine she is asking to try and save her marriage by knowing she is destroying it - Rochester never forgives her - something she knows will happen going in. I think that was really her first step outside of a "temporal or causal sequence."

Posted by Diana Geleskie at November 1, 2007 10:01 AM | TrackBack

Unless I'm mistaken in my understanding of what Mezei wrote--which I may still be...I already was once--I think she's saying that the entire narrative is told while she is in England and therefore already insane. If this is the case, based on my understanding of the argument, it doesn't really make sense why she lost the rest of her sanity so fast. Then again, maybe it was her memory of the visit to Christophine that made her lose the last of her sanity.

Posted by: Jennifer Prex at November 1, 2007 10:56 AM
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