You are on page 1of 11

Malik

Chapter 3
Madness as a Result of Patriarchy

Rhys in Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) demonstrates how Antoinette’s identity is so completely weakened through the patriarchal oppression that when she sees herself in the mirror she does not identify her own reflection. “ t was then saw her ! the ghost. "he

woman with streaming hair. #he was surrounded $y a gilt frame $ut knew her% (Rhys 1&'). Rhys illustrates that Antoinette does not reali(e that what she sees in the mirror is a reflection of her $roken selfhood. )er selfhood has undergone an irre*ersi$le split. +ith her heart and spirit $roken she $egins to display signs of an emotionally weak, pu((led and unsta$le woman. Rhys gi*es *oice to a madwoman who has $een -othered’ $y imperialistic and patriarchal su$.ugation. Rhys un*eiled the truth that Antoinette’s madness is a result of oppression. n Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) the theme of madness is *ery important. /ental illness is descri$ed as a disorder of the $rain which causes disruption in a person’s way of thinking, feeling, moods and a$ility to relate to others (+ikipedia, mental illness). t also says that, nsanity does not necessarily ha*e to $e a disorder of the mind $ut can also $e a different way of $eha*ior, a $eha*ior not considered accepta$le to dominant social and cultural norms. "his implies that what is considered as madness $y some might not $e considered as madness $y others. /ichel 0oucault $elie*es “madness to $e an in*ented disease and therefore a disease of

"hose who act outside the dominant norms of society are often thought as -madmen’ since they do not act and $eha*e like the mainstream. "hey dri*e her to it. "his also shows that how madness can $e a social phenomenon. +hen she lose her son she lose herself for a while and they shut her away. Rochester. /oreo*er. 6uestion. no friends. 4hristophine argues that she was dri*en insane $ecause of these traumatic incidents. as she is dri*en mad $y others. and her hus$an’ he go off. A person can $e dri*en mad $y others. "hey won’t let Antoinette see her. they act like she is mad. stimulated $y /r. #he witnesses her home 4ouli$ri $urning down and she loses her only son. Annette’s hus$and. 0oucault also indicates that “how many e1tended e1citations without repose could lead to madness% (2&). 7ut no kind word.Malik our ci*ili(ation% (0oucault). "he death of her son finally dro*e Annette o*er the rim. "his lack of care and lo*e $ecomes the reason of Annette’s madness. "hese incidents were the re*engeful acts of the $lack people of her town. Antoinette3s madness can also $e seen as a social phenomenon. "his *iew can $e applied to Antoinette3s mother. Annette perhaps would not ha*e gone mad if her hus$and had taken care of her and her keepers not a$used her. 19:).ected $y the people of her island $ecause of her 4reole heritage and $eing a wife of an e1!sla*e owner. he lea*e her. "hey won’t let me see her. 4hristophine tries to e1plain the cause of Annette’s madness to /r. $ut no. she care for nothing (Rhys pg. n the end8 mad don’t know 8 she gi*e up. try. /ason’s lack of care also affects her. #he is re. "hey tell her she is mad. . /r. Annette. 5uestion. #he lost $oth her hope and her sanity.

)er marriage is the result of a forced unem$ellished oppression. "eresa 0. Rochester’s cruel treatment of Antoinette is that. $ecause of his patriarchal rules and norms is the reason for their failed marriage. "he doctors say what you tell them to say% (Rhys 19. Antoinette is saddled with a man who is filled with anger. /r. Rochester destroys her human identity and in this way makes her more animal!like. he is also a *ictim of imperialistic and patriarchal oppression. /r. Rhys confirms that Rochester3s hostility towards Antoinette is $ecause of his hatred towards his father. "herefore Antoinette gets mad $ecause her hus$and sees herself as mad. “his cruelties deri*e from his own re. Rochester acts as the coloni(ing >nglish? aggressi*e. property and people% (1@:).ection $y his father. Rochester3s cruelties de*elop from his hatred for his father. Rhys re*eals the unfairness of Rochester3s supposition that mother’s madness must certainly $e passed on to the daughter.=’ 4onnor’s *iew a$out /r. 4hristophine said to /r. and Antoinette $ecomes his scapegoat for the hate he feels towards him% (16. and a warrior that captures wealth. controlling. "eresa 0. )e is allowed to treat his wife disrespectfully $ecause of the patriarchal standards which pre*ail in the society. )is anger is similar to the anger of the oppressed one.). #he is locked up $y the patriarchal rules of her marriage. Rochester that. "hus. ur$an. and the marriage agreement which he has $een pressed into. =3 4onnor says that.). howe*er his cruelties are still appro*ed $y the patriarchal society. 7y descri$ing Antoinette degradingly.Malik Rochester3s $rutal patriarchal domination. know it. “ t is in your mind to pretend she is mad. <ike Antoinette. >*en though. +e can see that Antoinette tries to make her hus$and lo*e her $y seducing him into . “/r. Rochester.

$ut it does not affect Rochester’s $eha*ior. Rochester reflects in the te1t. "his also un*eils the hypocrisy of Bictorian society. it was a general idea that if men wished to remain in position of powers then they must ha*e to maintain power o*er women. +hen Antoinette comes out of her room and e1presses her anger a$out her hus$and’s . “#he’s mad $ut mine. n Bictorian society. /r. /r. Rochester thinks a$out Antoinette as a madwoman $ecause she does not $eha*e like a Bictorian woman. "herefore. As Rochester says. "homas #taley states that. AmAlie. many men kept mistresses $ut they e1pected their wi*es to $e faithful despite of the fact that they were cheating them. and when was awake the feeling of suffocation persisted% (Rhys 119). “"his is why he takes re*enge on Antoinette $y sleeping with the $lack ser*ant girl. A person’s wife was considered as a source of preser*ing social status within patriarchal society. /r. )e $elie*es this $rings $ack his patriarchal manliness and his a$ility to dominate and destroy Antoinette% (11'). Rochester’s infidelity is a way for him to demonstrate his patriarchal power o*er Antoinette and to show her that she can not control him.Malik ha*ing se1ual inter!course with her. "he suffocation he feels is due to the fact that he feels himself in the power of his wife and not the other way around. "heir relationship with females demonstrated that how successful they were at controlling the women in their li*es. 7ut this can also $e seen in the conte1t of /r. Rochester did not let 4hristophine to take care of her. "herefore it is necessary for a man to suppress and dominate woman $y limiting her se1ual freedom. mine% (Rhys 196). Rochester’s Bictorian up$ringing. “ woke in the dark after dreaming that was $uried ali*e. n Bictorian period. n Bictorian society women are not allowed to e1press their se1uality openly.

#o $etween you often wonder who am and where is my country and where do $elong and why was e*er $orn at all (Rhys 2&). n order to understand deeply that how /r. Rochester uses his patriarchal power to dri*e Antoinette mad.:). "he sla*ery issues created se*eral conflicts $etween the white and the $lack population of the +est ndies.ected.ection which Antoinette has e1perienced throughout her life. "hat’s what they call of us who were here $efore their own people in Africa sold them to the sla*e traders. 7y dehumani(ing his wife in such a degrading manner. /r. her face was *ery flushed and looked swollen% (Rhys 1. “)er hair hung uncom$ed and dull into her eyes which were inflamed and staring. /r. "hat is why Rochester tries to assign animal features to his wife. t was a song a$out white cockroach. #he tells /r.ected $y $oth the $lack and white people. Rochester a$out a song that a $lack ser*ant girl.ected $y her patriarchal hus$and who alienates her e*en more and this finally dri*es her mad. #he feels that she does not $elong anywhere and e1plains this feeling to her hus$and. .ected $y the people of her island for $eing a 4reole and a daughter of former sla*e!owner. and then she is re.Malik infidelity with AmAlie. #he is desperate to $elong somewhere and $elie*es that her hus$and will help her to fit in the society from which she has $een re. Antoinette is re. "hat’s me. will first discuss the re. #he is re. Rochester defends his own cruel $eha*ior towards her. Rochester diminishes Antoinette’s human features in order to e1plain her madness.ected first $y her mother. And ’*e heard >nglish woman call us white niggers. who fa*ored Antoinette’s younger $rother as women in patriarchy usually fa*ored their sons. which affects her relationship with her hus$and. #he is re. "he feeling of not $elonging anywhere alienates her and makes her more *ulnera$le. AmAlie sings a$out Antoinette.

"his attitude of /r. "his is the reason which helps Rochester to call her 7ertha. agoni(ing. +e can see in part three of Wide Sargasso Sea. emotionally depressed life which causes her to adopt an accurate reflection of her mother’s e1pression. the stereotype of madness created $y patriarchal society.or reason for Antoinette’s madness. “Cames matter. n this way. there is still the woman who has emotions and feelings.ects his hatred into her. Rhys e1plains that Rochester’s re.ects in order to control them. Rochester shows that men change women in o$. “"he doll had a doll’s *oice. Rochester starts calling her 7ertha in order to indicate the $eginning of his separation from her. Rochester $reaks her up and makes her silent. Rochester also alienates her $y eliminating her identity and forcing a new one upon her. And it is perhaps possi$le for a woman to gi*e up her $ody $ut not her spirit. like when he wouldn’t call me Antoinette. 0or /r.ection of Antoinette $ecomes the final straw in her lonely. who depri*es Antoinette of her identity. After diminishing Antoinette’s identity. 7y renaming Antoinette. (1966) Antoinette gi*es importance to names. )ere Rhys represents Rochester as an aggressi*e tyrant. alienation is the ma. Rochester. Rochester tries to control her $ody $ut he can not control her spirit. $ut what they do not reali(e is that inside the doll. a $reathless $ut curiously indifferent *oice% (Rhys 1':). her pretty clothes and her looking!glass% . Antoinette then $ecomes like a mirror which is first wiped and then clean of her own identity. Rochester pro. and saw Antoinette drifting out of the window with her scents. with whom he can do e*erything he likes to do.Malik "herefore. /r. /r. )e treats her as if she is a doll. t is an em$lematical situation when /r. Antoinette is only a puppet. chanting to her. /r. /r. Rochester turns Antoinette into 7ertha and then to /arionette.

"eresa 0.=’ 4onnor’s says that. that the alienation and re. someone much like her mother was. Rochester eliminates Antoinette’s identity completely. Rochester considers her to $e mad. /r. ha*ing no soul. Rochester desires her to $e. /r.1). )e wants to destroy e*erything which is . Dou are trying to make me into someone else. at least not an ideal -angel’ that Rochester wants her to $e. )e tries to create a woman whom he can control. "his is what happens to Antoinette. "hus /r. At the point when /r. Rochester3s o$session to dominate and control his wife makes Antoinette more alienated from her identity. Cames are important in one’s life $ecause they are part of a person3s identity. she $ecomes someone else. #he is struggling inside herself. Antoinette gi*es in and dies emotionally $ecause she seems to percei*e her fate as ine*ita$le. #he ne*er $ecomes 7ertha. dominate and possess. $ecause as a coloni(er he tries to force a 7ritish identity upon her. 7y turning Antoinette into a Bictorian >nglish woman. Rochester notices that she has lost her li*eliness and acts completely passi*e. Antoinette was so shocked to see Rochester3s $eha*ior towards her that she $ecomes like Eom$ie. Rhys presents the idea that $y renaming Antoinette Rochester tries to e1ert his masculine power o*er her. “the -mad’ females in Wide Sargasso Sea turn their -madness’ inwards% (19@). n the end of the part two when /r.Malik (Rhys 1'@). the patriarchal /r. 7ut Antoinette only appears to surrender herself. and instead of $ecoming the “>nglish girl%. Rochester and Antoinette are a$out to lea*e for >ngland. Rochester changes Antoinette’s name to 7ertha. he can $e seen in the role of a coloni(er. calling me $y another name% (Rhys 1. #he says “7ertha is not my name.ection which she faces throughout her life leads to her madness.

“7ut lo*ed this place and you ha*e made it into a place hate. )e turns Antoinette into a lifeless o$. from the $eginning of Antoinette’s marriage. Rhys shows. /en like that% (Rhys 91). #he suggests Antoinette what to do and how to sol*e pro$lems with her hus$and. she asks 4hristophine to help her with =$eah (Boodoo) in order to maker her hus$and lo*e her. t’s . /r.ust somewhere else where ha*e $een unhappy%F. and now you ha*e spoilt it. makes her more alienated. pick up your skirt and walk outF. used to think that if e*erything else went out of my life would still ha*e this.ect $y destroying the last spark of life in her. and if he see you fat and happy he want you $ack. n the end he come to find out what you do. 4hristophine ad*ises Antoinette to $e strong and independent like her self. #he feels that Gran$ois is a place where she is safe and secure and if e*erything gets lost she will still ha*e it. as se1ually.Malik related to Antoinette $ecause he wants complete control o*er her $ody and mind. “A man don’t treat you good. #he says. +hen her hus$and tries to teach her a$out the life style he finds correct. #he feels that she does not $elong anywhere and has nothing to identify with. (Rhys 1. Rochester has power to destroy $oth Antoinette’s identity of soul and identity of place $ecause of his patriarchal position in their marriage.1). 4hristophine who is the figure of female independence in all forms. 4hristophine considers that . her defensi*e $eha*ior. how you get on without him. Rhys lets her protagonist to gain her independence and sanity $ack $y seeking final re*enge on Rochester. 7y losing her identity and losing the only place where she has felt happiness and safety. she argues against him in order to maintain her own ideals and *alues. #he also fights to keep her hus$and when she finds out a$out his infidelity. economically and politically.

after Rochester has depri*ed her of all emotions. where Antoinette appears to $urn down her hus$and’s house in >ngland and commits suicide. +ith this last step. “this is a free country and am a free woman%. she takes her destiny in her own hands. =’4onnor disagrees with other critics a$out the third part of Wide Sargasso Sea. )ere Rhys illustrates that se1ual and emotional oppression are the means of patriarchal tyranny. and takes responsi$ility for her own life. Antoinette finally regains her acti*ity in the third part of the no*el. “Cow at last know why was $rought here and what ha*e to do% (Rhys 1&&). Antoinette’s act of $urning down his house is an acti*e choice which $rings her $ack from her misera$le condition. Antoinette lets her self to $e *ictimi(ed $y the enemy. /arionette. n the end. n this way. #he does not $elie*e that Antoinette’s act of $urning down the house is an act of re$ellion and resistance. she manages to $reak free from the sufferings $y making her last act of self!determination. howe*er. Rhys changes her madwoman into a sym$ol of female li$eration. 7ut if we deeply e1amine the scene we see that the apparent act of $urning down /r. #ome word so% (Rhys 1. +hen she wakes up she is con*inced of what she has to do. "eresa 0.umping from the $uilding. "his is said $y a woman who is perfectly awake with a clear mind. the man she was tricked into marrying. #he considers it to $e a passi*e act since Antoinette is unaware that her act is re$ellious (162). “#he tell me in the middle of all this you start calling her names.@). "his is an act of re*enge that restores her . Antoinette does not really $urn down the house in her dream. #he is so self!confident that she answers him directly and coldly $y saying that.Malik she is free to accuse Rochester of $eing cruel to Antoinette hence reducing her into a doll. 4hristophine says to Rochester. Rochester’s house is a passi*e act. she has an intuition in her dream that she sets his house on fire and commits suicide $y .

ects the flame red dress with which she identifies her self as intemperate and unchaste.Malik identity that her hus$and had tried to eliminate. t is repeatedly repressed $y her hus$and as he prefers her white dress which is the sym$ol of innocence and purity. As Antoinette takes her red dress that has a meaning from the cup$oard in the red curtained room in which she has asked Grace Ioole to light a fire and is reminded of the color of fire and sunset in her home town. which is displayed in her final act of re*enge and re$ellion against her oppressi*e hus$and. Red is metaphorically associated with passion and it is also associated with Antoinette and with her red!soil of +est ndies through out the Wide Sargasso Sea. 7y $urning down the house. "his tendency to suppress the color red is re*ersed in the third part of the no*el. 4ouli$ri. Hespite her hus$and’s effort to destroy her identity and take away her sanity. "he red is the color of flames which Antoinette dreams that she sets "horn field to fire. was $urnt down. >*erything associated with red is repeated again and again in the no*el to show the destruction of patriarchal order. she destroys an old dignified >nglish /ansion representing the patriarchal tradition. "herefore. n the light of 4i1ous’s theory. support my statement that Antoinette’s madness is a re$ellion against the patriarchal oppression. as in this case. )e re. death. she destroys the prison that has held her imprisoned. And $efore committing suicide. in part three Rhys with the use of red color shows how Antoinette destroys the dominant discourse of the patriarchal society. thus sym$olically . #he still has her own will left. #he sets her self free from patriarchal oppression and takes control o*er her own situation $y deciding her own course of life or. Antoinette’s re$ellion against her patriarchal hus$and can $e related to the incident when her childhood home. he can ne*er control her completely.

Malik destroying the patriarchal order that is upheld $y discourse. Antoinette’s determination in not to $e go*erned and not to ha*e someone else decide her destiny. the darkness of ignorance. 0or Antoinette. Rhys represents her protagonist with a ray of light to guide her hopes. 7ut shielded it with my hand and it $urned up again to light me along the dark passage% (Rhys 1&6). although the choice of death in order to $e free may seem as a poor alternati*e. #he decides to lea*e the oppressi*e world $ehind her $y choosing death instead of an imprisoned life. . "hus. 7y committing suicide she takes her destiny in her own hands. despair and death are finally illuminated $y the light of self!knowledge and re*olt. t does show. “"here must ha*e $een a draught for the flame flickered and thought it was out. though.