. He is never named in Rhys’s novel, but the details he gives of his lifemake it clear to the reader that he is a younger version of Bronte’s character.The narration of Part II begins several months after Antoinette voiced her fearsof leaving the sanctuary of the convent for the outside world. In that time, Mr.Mason has died and his son, Richard, has arranged the marriage of Antoinette toRochester. Put ashore in the town of Massacre, Dominica with his new bride,Rochester thinks to himself,Grace Poole, another character from Bronte’s
, begins the narration of Part III. In Bronte’s novel, Grace is the woman hired to care for Bertha/Antoinette when she is locked in the attic of Thornfield Hall, Rochester’shome in England. In Rhys’s novel, Grace tells of how Rochester’s father and brother have died and how Edward has become very wealthy. He has instructedhis housekeeper to hire Grace at extremely high wages to look out for the madwoman, Antoinette. Grace calls her “that girl who lives in her own darkness”.
English House vs. the Caribbean Spaces
Self-enclosed gardens: the garden in Coulibri and the forests in both Coulibriand Granbois, the “enclosed garden”. Antoinette dreams of a house with “thick walls”, “blazing fires and the crimson and white rooms”; places without lookingglass: the convent the house in England (Thornfield in
)England: “a black and cruel world to a woman” for Grace.Antoinette in the house: relationships between Grace and Antoinette: Grace iskind, but in lack of understanding; a speaking, rational, perceptive and knowingsubject: “she hasn’t lost her spirit”; plans to convince Rochester to let her gohome. Signs of “madness”: look at the tapestry; loss of memory, does notremember fighting Richard.Rhys’s use of
Wide Sargasso Sea
, to symbolize the duality of the self, can be seen to parallel Bronte’s. The two selves – the reflected self andthe “real'” self – are separated from each other. Antoinette relates that when she'was a child and very lonely (she) tried to kiss her (her own reflection). But theglass was between us – hard, cold. Self-wholeness is prevented by a loomingsolid wall. In women’s writing can be seen to represent patriarchal judgment,Rhys in Wide Sargasso Sea, illustrates how Antoinette's identity is socompletely diminished through patriarchal oppression that when she looks in themirror she does not recognize her own reflection. All the mirrors Antoinettelooks into, in order to imagine a self for her, are distorted or cracked. When themob sets fire to her house, Tia casts a stone at her.Rhys’s great achievement in her re-writing of the Bronte text is her creation of an external double to the madwoman, which transforms the bestial Bertha intoan individual woman who has been “othered” by imperialistic and patriarchaloppression. Her madness is shown throughout the novel to be a reaction tooppression.
merge into a circular pattern of enclosure from which Antoinettecannot escape. The first three dreams occurs after Antoinette’s literal separation