Term Paper: Shaw's Primary Purposes in Writing

Pages: 5 (2213 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] In Bront's novel we only find a brief account mode by Rochester after Bertha's brother, Richard, prevents Rochester's marriage to Jane by revealing that he is already married to Bertha. Rhys uses the name Antoinette instead of Bertha, which is imposed by her husband, who is not named at all in Wide Sargasso Sea. However, the identification with Rochester is clear and there has been great debate on the relationship between Wide Sargasso Sea and its illustrious predecessor.

Rhys's retelling of Bront's novel may also be found in other elements - Rhys had her own childhood memories of Dominica and stories about her mother's family history on the island. Rhys also alters Jane Eyre's chronology: "in Bront's novel Rochester and Bertha were married in 1819, but Rhys moves the wedding to around 1840, in the immediate aftermath of Emancipation, which had been completed with the ending of the transitional apprenticeship system in 1838. This moves events closer to Rhys's maternal family history: her great-grandfather (the model for Cosway) had died in 1837, and Geneva had been attacked during riots over a census taken in 1844. "

Rhys divides the speaking voice between Rochester and Antoinette, thus avoiding the suppression of alternative voices. Rochester is not portrayed as an evil tyrant, but as a proud and bigoted younger brother betrayed by his family into a loveless marriage. He sleeps with the maid, Amelie, displaying the promiscuous behavior and attraction to the Negro community which he accuses Antoinette of harboring and thus reveals his double standards regarding the former slaves and Antoinette's family involvement with them. He chooses to believe the worst of Antoinette, and therefore ruins the few happy days the couple spend at Granbois, and finally betrays his wife.

The themes of enslavement and madness in Rhys's novel are joined by the one of womanhood.

Antoinette was presented the society's ideals of proper feminine behavior since she was a girl at the convent school. The Creole girls, Miss Germaine and Helene de Plana, embody beauty, chastity and mild, even-tempered manners, which represent virtues that Antoinette wants to learn and emulate. Antoinette's passion is the main cause of her melancholy and implied madness, while the two girls are praised by Mother St. Justine' for being "poised" and "imperturbable." "Rhys also explores her female characters' legal and financial dependence on the men around them. After the death of her first husband, Antoinette's mother sees her second marriage as an opportunity to escape from her life at Coulibri and regain status among her peers. For the men in the novel, marriage increases their wealth by granting them access to their wives' inheritance. In both cases, womanhood is synonymous with a kind of childlike dependence on the nearest man. Indeed, it is this dependence that precipitates the demise of both Antoinette and Annette. Both women marry white Englishmen in the hopes of assuaging their fears as vulnerable outsiders, but the men betray and abandon them."

Bibliography

1. Page, E. Postcolonial Discourse in Wide Sargasso Sea http://www.qub.ac.uk/en/imperial/carib/sargasso.htm

2. The Victorian Web, www.victorianweb.org/post/caribbean/dominica/rhys/ripple18.html

3. Romantic Times Book Club, "Plain Jane - What's the Appeal? www.romantictimes.com/f_reader/f3a_49.html

4. Literary Encyclopedia, Article on Jean Rhys www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8787

5. Simon's Page, Book Review on Pygmalion, G.B. Shaw www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/6422/rev0043.html

6. Jean Rhys - "Wide Sargasso Sea" Themes, Motifs, and Symbols, Themes, Slavery and Entrapment http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/sargasso/themes.html

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/pygmalion/analysis.html

Rossi, A.D. Pygmalion, The Play and the Myth http://www.theliteraturefactory.com/exibelotexto.phtml?cod=1&cat=Essays

Jean Rhys - "Wide Sargasso Sea" Themes, Motifs, and Symbols, Themes, Slavery and Entrapment http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/sargasso/themes.html

Romantic Times Book Club, "Plain Jane - What's the Appeal? www.romantictimes.com/f_reader/f3a_49.html

Simon's Page, Book Review on Pygmalion, G.B. Shaw www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/6422/rev0043.html

Literary Encyclopedia, Article on Jean Rhys, www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8787

Jean Rhys - "Wide Sargasso Sea" Themes, Motifs, and Symbols, Themes, Slavery and Entrapment http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/sargasso/themes.html [END OF PREVIEW]

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