Charlotte Brontes Jane Eyre an Essay

Words: 3610
Pages: 15

How and why are selected canonical texts re-written by female authors? Answer with close reference to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea. The Sargasso Sea is a relatively still sea, lying within the south-west zone of the North Atlantic Ocean, at the centre of a swirl of warm ocean currents. Metaphorically, for Jean Rhys, it represented an area of calm, within the wide division between England and the West Indies. Within such an area, a sense of stability, permanence and identity may be attained, despite the powerful, whirling currents which surround it. But outside of this ‘sea’, one may be destabilised, drawn away by these outside forces, into the vast expanse of …show more content…
This shift exposed and exacerbated a stratification of West Indian society: a gradation of wealth and identity: white, Creole, mixed race, coloured and black; with similar stratifications within black West Indian communities, between islanders of Martinique, Jamaica and Dominica. In Dominica, as in the novel, nothing is clearly defined and these gradations between those binary oppositions become blurred. The sense of identity, that is reinforced or created as a result of them, also becomes blurred. Immediately the novel opens, the reader is struck by this sense of uncertainty, with an undercurrent of danger: ‘They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did.’3 The abolition of slavery meant freedom for the slaves, but had brought fear and poverty to the white people. The colonial whites, abandoned by their mother-country, had, in a short space of time, become shifted from oppressor to oppressed. The plantocracy and their families were dispossessed of their power and influence: neither black nor true white, their status and sense of identity was in freefall. The emotional effect on Antoinette’s sense of identity was considerable. Her mother, mentally abused by her philandering husband and now verbally abused by the local blacks, became the primary focus of her ‘solitary life’. She would see the sorrow in her mother: the ‘frown .. between her black