Free Essay Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea Essay

3327 Words14 Pages

Wide Sargasso Sea

Places take on a symbolic significance in Wide Sargasso Sea. Discuss the way in which Jean Rhys uses different locations in the narrative.

Place in 'Wide Sargasso Sea' seems to be used to convey Antoinette's frame of mind at different times in her life. Wally Look Lai believes that "The West Indian setting...is central to the novel...(and) the theme of rejected womanhood is utilized symbolically in order to make an artistic statement about West Indian society and about an aspect of the West Indian experience".

In Part One of 'Wide Sargasso Sea', Coulibri and the convent in
Spanish Town are presented as contrasts in that they represent danger and safety respectively. Antoinette's mother describes how she…show more content…

This suggests that this is a dangerous place for them to be in, and that, like Eden, the garden is a symbol of corrupted innocence. This gives the reader a hint of what is coming. Rhys sets a tone of eerie silence in this West
Indian landscape.

She uses many of her senses to describe the garden, which was
'wonderful to see' and smelt 'very sweet and strong'. She conveys every aspect of the garden in a very powerful manner, which in turn conveys the wildness of it. This effect is heightened by the animal imagery used to describe the 'thin brown tentacles' of the orchids.
The garden can no longer be controlled: it has given itself over to wildness and savage overgrowth. This parallels with the fact that the black people can no longer be controlled by the white people.
Therefore, some may interpret the garden as a symbol of the deterioration of the social hierarchy of the time. The natural surroundings are often used as symbols in this novel. The first time that she has her recurring dream, she is 'in the forest' with 'someone who hated' her. This forest is clearly symbolic of her isolation and the danger that she feels she is in, living in Coulibri.
Antoinette seems particularly preoccupied with morbidity and decay

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Essay on The Tragedy of Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea

1057 Words5 Pages

The Tragedy of Wide Sargasso Sea

In Jean Rhys' novel Wide Sargasso Sea, whether Antoinette Cosway really goes mad in the end is debatable. Nevertheless, it is clear that her life is tragic. The tragedy comes from her numerous pursuits for love and a sense of belonging, and her failure at each and every one of these attempts.

As a child Antoinette, is deprived of parental love. Her father is a drunkard and has many mistresses and illegitimate children. According to Daniel Cosway's account, old Cosway is cruel to his own son. Yet even if Daniel was not really a Cosway, and his descriptions were made out of spite, or if old Cosway had cared any more for his legitimate children than his bastard ones, his alcoholism is real, and…show more content…

Tia steals her money and dress, and hurts her with cruel words of scorn and enmity:

She hear we all poor like beggar. We ate salt fish - no money for fresh fish. That old house so leaky, you run with calabash to catch water when it rain. Plenty white people in Jamaica. Real white people, they got gold money. They didn't look at us, nobody see them come near us. Old time white people nothing but white nigger now, and black nigger better than white nigger (10; part 1).

Tia represents not only herself but the general native community. They hate the Cosway widow and children because of their past slave-ownership, and despise them for their lack of wealth. Indeed, it is this hostility that motivates the natives to set Coulibri on fire and drive the Masons (now that Annette has married Mr. Mason) out of the estate.

Antoinette's removal from Coulibri is not only her first experience of dislocation, but also a serious emotional trauma. The place represents familiarity, and thus safety and identity to her. It is the place where she belongs; it is a kind and faithful friend. Now all that is lost to her

With the experience of being ignored, betrayed, and deprived, she becomes more afraid of loss and danger, but longs even more to have something to hold dear and belong to. When she gets into the convent school she finds temporary safety, being sheltered from the dangerous and unpredictable "outside", but her stepfather eventually brings her out into the

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