Wide Sargasso Sea is a novel by Jean Rhys published in 1966. Its action takes place before that of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
The novel has received numerous awards including the Royal Society of Literature Award and the WH Smith Literary Award.
To write a good Wide Sargasso Sea research paper you should understand that the novel tells us about Antoinette Cosway who lived during her childhood in Jamaica when the abolition of slavery has ruined her mother, Annette. This widow lives with her daughter and their home in a remote area. Antoinette is torn throughout her childhood between anxiety due to the increasing hostility of former slaves and the lack of attention from her mother sinking gradually into the madness.
After the remarriage of her mother, and arson that ravaged Coulibri, their area of residence, Antoinette’s life changes completely. She moved initially to a nearby town Spanishtown to live with her aunt Cora. The servant who had been her surrogate mother went to live in the house Annette gave her and Annette finally sink into madness with the death of Peter, her mentally retarded son. She ends up in a house where two servants take care of her. One of them, an old Creole, rapes her regularly without having any reaction from her.
Meanwhile, Antoinette is sent to a convent where she studied. At 16, she is forced to marry a young Englishman, Rochester. He seduces her, and made her love to him, but he hates her, and made sure to take everything she has.
Antoinette as her mother sank into madness. Her husband goes to England, he buys a house and pays domestic to care for Antoinette to not worry about her.
One night Antoinette manages to escape from the attic in which she is held prisoner since her arrival in England and sets fire to the house. The fire of Coulibri had changed her life, she was released, allowing her to leave the prison where she lived in autarky with her mother and servants. In burning home in England she is released by dying…
Many similarities are noted with the novel Jane Eyre, making this book a rewriting of the Charlotte Brontë work, but from the point of view of Antoinette (Bertha Mason).
Characters of Antoinette Cosway and Jane Eyre are very similar. Both vibrant, talented, independent young ladies with a troubled childhood, both were educated in religious institutions and experienced class inequality, and, of course, both were married to Mr. Rochester. On the other hand, Antoinette is more capricious than Jane and mentally less stable, perhaps because she had to endure even more sad circumstances. Sometimes Antoinette craves death, which again shows her mental instability, and, unlike Jane’s open Christian faith, evinces a cynical view of God and religion.
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