Identity Crises: An Analytical Study of Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea

Main Article Content

Dr. Digvijay Pandya, Shambhavi Singh


In the Novels of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea, the textual function of cultural representations of subaltern identity in the development and preservation of First and Third World connections is examined. It focuses on the texts' dominating discursive practices, examining how the West's hegemonic ideology is at work in establishing value systems while simultaneously presenting Third World people as subaltern. Both works are supported by the use of language that aids in the comprehension of hierarchical power structures and the potential for opposition to that agenda. It demonstrates how, under the cruel heritage of patriarchy and imperialism, Mr. Rochester has been a dominant voice and authoritative authority. The dominating discursive space in Jane Eyre restricts Bertha Mason's unique identity by denying her a subjective voice to claim her identity. However, in the sense that Antoinette/Bertha voices and struggles for her identity, the novel Wide Sargasso Sea acts considering the "re-inscription" of the novel Jane Eyre. Her individual identity and subjectivity are distorted by prevailing power structures and discourses, which create ideological conflict in existing social interactions and identities.

Despite the fact that she did not consider herself to be English and remained a scathing critic of English principles throughout her life, Jean Rhys (1890-1979) should be seen as a guiding light for English culture. She was awarded the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition of her significant contributions to literature. She was born on the Caribbean island of Dominica in 1890 to a Welsh father and a "white Creole" mother. Even her best-known piece, Wide Sargasso Sea (1939), is founded on this 'catharsis,' or Creole identity, for which she is most well-known. Rhys and the Wide Sargasso Sea's description of colonial relations has been analyzed in recent literary criticism in terms of geographical, national, cultural, and racial themes. Given that the narrative's core is a White Creole character, the goal of critique should be to determine whether or whether the book reconfigures the previous cultural resistance of black Caribbeans against European rule (i.e. Antoinette). By dismantling and deconstructing the Western canon, Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea displaces the monolithic grandeur of the Western canon by rewriting Charlotte Bronte's iconic work Jane Eyre (1847). As an alternative text to the conventional perspective's monolithic construct, Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea defends cultural pluralism and plurality.

By shifting the attention from Jane to "the insane woman in the attic," Jean Rhys' best-known postcolonial novel Wide Sargasso Sea has long been considered as to a predecessor to Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre. It is a tragic novel that investigates the construction of knowledge about racial identity tragedy, particularly the identity tragedy of white Creole women. The paper tries to present a thorough view of Antoinette, the "crazy woman" caught between English imperialist control and racial class friction in the Wide Sargasso Sea, and to show that Antoinette's identity tragedy is the outcome of "being mute."

Article Details