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Quite a Shift

"There we were, sheltering from the heavy rain under a large mango tree, myself, my wife Antoinette and a little half-caste servant who was called Amélie."
~Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, page 65

I have to admit that, at first, I was a little confused when the point of view shifted from Antoinette to Rochester. It didn't take me long to realize it, but there was no indication except for that one sentence. At first I was a little disappointed. I thought it would be interesting to read this entire story from Antoinette's point of view. However, I can understand why Rhys might have chosen to write it this way instead. In writing this portion of the book from Rochester's point of view, it keeps the reader guessing. One second I think I have a pretty good idea of what's going on, but when something else happens, I'm back to being unsure. If I would look at this in terms of good guys and bad guys, I have to admit that--at the moment--I think of Antoinette as good yet misunderstood, Rochester as a gray area character, and Richard as a bad guy. I don't think that my opinion of Richard will change, but I'm still not sure about Antoinette and Rochester. My opinion on them seems to change almost by a page-by-page basis.

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Comments (3)

The line between good and evil in Jane Eyre is blurred by Wide Sargasso Sea.We she Antonette in Jane Eyre as the "attic crazy" pryomanical wife, but a good and sweet struggling women in Wide Sargasso Sea. To me the whole meaning of Rhys novel is to force us to look at the characters that we know and love from Jane Eyre, making them "round characters".

In Jane Eyre, I always felt a pang of sympathy for Rochester: such is not the case for him in this book. Was money and status the only thing people thought about back then? Did anyone marry for love and love alone? He realizes early on that he made a mistake in marrying Antoinette. Divorces existed even way back then. And then on top of all that, Rochester drags her away to a foreign country, away from the only thing somewhat close to a mother Antoinette has ever known. No wonder "Bertha" went crazy. A loveless childhood, and a loveless marriage?


What a colossal jackass. He's no longer one of my romantic heroes. (oh well, there's still Mr. Darcy...)

I don't think Rochester was as much of a jackass as you imply Dani. Yes, divorce was around even back then, but it was so beyond unaccepted it wasn't even funny. Do you honestly think Jane would have taken Rochester if he divorced his wife? I doubt it.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 21, 2007 10:01 PM.

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