November 1, 2007

Always Living In The Past

"Even Antoinette's nostalgic fantasies of community and place seem to guarantee her progression toward Thornfield Hall and madness - a progression toward becoming Bertha Mason."
John J. Su "'Once I Would Have Gone Back . . . But Not Any Longer': Nostalgia and Narrative Ethics in Wide Sargasso Sea"

John J. Su discusses how Antoinette's is constantly living her life with a sort of nostalgia - she wants the past. She always wants the past. A past that never really existed to begin with.

I thought that this was an interesting approach towards Antoinette's character. With nostalgia it is hard to imagine present life. Antoinette has that very problem. At the novel's conclusion, Antoinette is hardly even aware of her surroundings, claiming that when she is allowed outside that she went on a visit to England. She is completely living in the past.

One example that John J. Su uses is her final reflection on Tia. Tia is a figure of her past - a figure who at their final meeting tried to hurt her. But still Antoinette thinks of her with favor: very nostalgic. It is only after this dream that Antoinette burns down Thornfield Hall and kills herself. She can only be unhinged when she lives in the past.

Posted by Diana Geleskie at November 1, 2007 10:33 AM | TrackBack

I guess this does kind of make sense. By remembering the past with nostalgia, she will remember times in which she was not as trapped as she is now. She may wish for that so much now that it causes the final few strings to snap.

Posted by: Jennifer Prex at November 1, 2007 11:04 AM
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