Ciolkowski, Navigating The Wide Sargasso Sea: Colonial History, English Fiction, And British Empire
EL237--Writing About Literature
We could pretty much make the assumption that Jamaica has been a one of the world's melting pots of culture. In this article, Laura Ciolkowski, is stating how both the British and African cultures in Jamaica are colliding in Wide Sargasso Sea for a chance in the spotlight.
The description of how these cultures clash is described in this quote:
Not quite English and not quite "native", Rhys's Creole woman straddles the embattled divide between human and savage, core and periphery, self and other.
Antonette had always had to battle where her loyalties lie, to the mother country (England) or her home (Jamaica). It seems like her very existence is a culture clash. Can she indeed be a model Englishwoman to "expand and defend the English empire" by bearing the sons it needs? I doubt it and so does Ciolkowski. Antonette is what she called "the Hybrid Body", the symbol of the problems of the culture.
Even the novel itself fight for what side in this battle that it is on. Ciolkowski described the typical and most of the time sterotypical view of Jamaica through English eyes. Even though Wide Sargasso Sea is about Jamaica, it was written by a British subject.Nevertheless Rhys steps out of her "God Save The Queen" shell and continue to speak for Antonette, the symbol of the cultures, and a "silent madwoman with a chance to sell her story". There is another quote that I can think of :
Wide Sargasso Sea resists English imperial common sense, mapping out instead the multiple battles over what gets to count as the way things are. That Rhys plays out these battles on the terrain of the English novel, situating her text both beside and against Charlotte Bronte's nineteenth-century canonical narrative of English womanhood, is no surprise; rather, such explicity intertextual struggles have helped critical readers of Rhys's fiction to place Rhys within a postcolonial literary tradition that is specifically interested in rewriting the fictions of English empire.