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In the field of contemporary English Literature, the wide sargasso Sea is known as Wide Sargasso Sea to the most famous novel by the Caribbean writer Jean Rhys (pseudonym used by Ella Gwendolen Rees Williams) which was first published in 1966, thanks to the editorial work of André Deutsch Ltda.
A tribute to Charlotte Bront
According to the critics, the work Width sea of the Sargasso can be understood as a tribute of the author, Jean Rhys, to the 19th-century British writer Charlotte Bronte, who gave life to the novel Jane Eyre, a reading that captivated Rhys in the first decades of the twentieth century, inspiring her to also weave the story of a woman, who finds in madness an exit to the oppressive and disenchanted world that she has to live.
In fact, Antoinette Cosway is introduced by Rhys as the daughter of Bertha Mason, Jane Eyre’s character.
As for the significance of this work for the career of its author, the different sources agree that it was Ancho mar de los Sargasso that focused the attention of the Critics in Jean Rhys, who had achieved only a small relevance twenty-seven years in 1939 he published Good Morning, Midnight, which however did not cause much stir in the literary world.
However, Ancho Mar de los Sargasso did not follow the same fate, positioning itself as a reference work, in postcolonial Caribbean literature.
Also, this work by Rhys has earned several accolades, such as the WH Smith Literary Awar Award, in the 1967 edition, this award that also made Rhys’ fame grow.
Likewise, Ancho mar de los Sargasso earned the prestige of being mentioned by the famous time magazine, which listed it as one of the hundred best novels in English, written in the twentieth century, since 1923. Among other awards is the Cheltenham Booker award, awarded in 2006.
Summary of Sargasso Sea Width
With regard to the content of Jean Rhys’s work, it can basically be said that it is the story of its protagonist: Antoinette Cosway, who will have to survive in a Caribbean and exotic environment, debating the rigidity of the Creole white class to which belongs, and the mysterious world of Caribbean islanders, who present him with a set of songs, spells and ghosts, that make reality and fantasy mix until they sometimes lose their defined limits.
Situation of madness that nevertheless offers a temporary escape line to this woman who doesn´t feel that belongs to either end in which her world is divided.
However, the novel is divided into three chapters, so the most accurate way to address a summary of the events weaving the story of Antoinette Cosway will be to take a moment to analyze what happens in each of them, as seen below :
In this first chapter of Wide Sea of Sargasso the narrator voice is played by the protagonist of the novel: Antoinette Cosway, and that by the moment of the narration is just a girl, who comments from her perspective the story of her mother: Bertha Mason (character in the novel Jane Eyre) who is described as a white, English woman, who has gone into madness, and whom her husband has locked in a room, as a way of dealing with the situation.
For his part, in the second chapter of this work, the narrative voice changes, to fall to Rochester, husband of Antoinette Cosway.
In this way, this man recounts how he has married Antoinette, having arranged with the father of this marriage, and above all how Rochester would manage the inheritance left by Bertha Mason to his daughter, which is consistent in land located in Dominica, a situation that for some reveals the patriarchal world in which Antoinette is unfolded.
However, while the Caribbean is originally presented with its striking beauty, as the tensions between Antoinette and Rochester increase, the landscape also becomes hostile.
As for the couple, the main problem is that the passion between husband and wife seems to have vanished, a situation that is of particular concern to Antoinette, who turns to Christophine, a black employee who has taken care of her since childhood, to give him some potion that comes to solve the lack of passion in their marriage.
At the opposite, Rochester’s distrust of the island and its inhabitants is growing every day, and he even begins to encompass his own wife, especially after receiving a letter, written by a antoinette of Antoinette, in which he warns him of the madness of the mother of est and how it can be a hereditary condition. It is here that the relationship is completely fractured, and Rochester begins to increte his wife into confessing to his mother’s true situation.
After falling ill from a potion given by Antoinette, and utterly convinced that Antoinette has gone mad, Rochester decides to leave the island, to return to England, where he locks Antoinette in a room, and begins to call her Bertha, assuming – without a place to doubts — that the mother’s mental condition is hereditary, and deciding on her wife’s life, without her having any choice.
Finally, in the third chapter of this novel, the narrative voice returns to Antoinette, who by that time is already a victim of the confinement to which she has been subjected by her husband, in response to her supposed insanity. Faced with captivity, Antoinette lets her imagination fly, then leading her to remember passages from her childhood, especially the years she lived with her mother in Coulibri, a territory located in Jamaica.
In fact, it is these rememorations that make Antoinette remember the moment in black slaves burned down his house, as a sign of rebellion, in the process of emancipation. The premonition-remembering is installed as an image in the mind of Antoinette, who one night dreams of the great fire, when he wakes up knows exactly what to do and how to escape his lockdown, so he escapes from his room, determined to burn down his own house, and thus put an end to u n cycle of madness and death, which seems to weigh upon his fate, even before he was born.
Picture: Photo of Dominica, territory where the middle part of the history of Ancho Mar de los Sargasso, built by author Jean Rhys / Source: wikipedia.org
September 30, 2019