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Disbelief

"She [Rhys] explained that 'I've never believed in Charlotte's lunatic, that's why I wrote this book [Wide Sargasso Sea' (296)."
~"Double (De)colonization and the Feminist Criticism of Wide Sargasso Sea" by Mardorossian

I found this to be interesting. I can kind of see where she's coming from. Bertha is a flat character in Jane Eyre. She's also portrayed in a melodramatic way--which makes her seem even more unreal. In a science fiction or fantasy style novel, this would not come across as much. Everything in those types of stories have a fantastical element about them, so nothing like this would seem out of place. In Jane Eyre, however, there are very few things that have this quality. As a result, the few things that are out of the ordinary seem out of place and completely fake.

I guess then that Rhys's interpretation of Bertha, or Antoinette, is that if she is crazy, it's because of others' influence. She was forced to become crazy.

Another completely different possibility, however, could be that she was simply trying to turn a flat character into a dynamic character.

Maybe it's a combination of the two.

Any ideas?

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Comments (5)

I just wrote my blog on the exact same subject. I believe Rhys wrote the novel to give weight to "Bertha's" actions(and maybe even greater signifigance in Jane Eyre). But mostly, I think she was just curious. It is a wonderous what factors can drive people to insanity. Also, did you ever think of comparing Antoinette to Elphaba? Think about all the racial issues, and how each ended up being driven to the breaking point.

It's funny you ask that. I can't remember if it was this entry or the other one, but the thought had crossed my mind...not necessarily in the sense that you suggested, but I did definitely notice some parallels.

Kevin "Kelo The Great" Hinton:

I see the whole concept of a character being created because of the situation he is in. It is like Paradise Lost where in some points in the stroy we feel sorry for Satan as he is kicked down to the abyss of Hell

Kevin "Kelo The Great" Hinton:

I see the whole concept of a character being created because of the situation he is in. It is like Paradise Lost where in some points in the stroy we feel sorry for Satan as he is kicked down to the abyss of Hell

I think she was doing it to indulge her own curiosity. Not that that is a bad thing at all though!
I think she truly wanted to know more and there wasn't any more to be had - so she made it herself in a way that is connected but not forcibly linked.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 28, 2007 9:24 PM.

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