God and Religion in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea
Jane Eyre, from Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, and Antoinette Mason, from Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea, both depict very different creeds. While Bronte created Jane with a Christian background, Rhys has birthed Antoinette into a more primitive, confused faith. Analyzing each writer's description of the red room will reveal the religious nature of their characters.
In both texts, the rooms are symbolic of church. As Jane is sent to the bedroom of her dead uncle, Bronte relates it to a place of worship. "A bed supported on massive pillars of mahogany, hung with curtains of deep red damask, stood out like a tabernacle in the center". Due to the vast size and illustrious beauty of the bed, Jane saw itas a "tabernacle", or a place of sanctuary. Often churches contain such platforms, and Bronte hints to Jane's stance on Christianity by enabling her to see the "tabernacle" in the room. "Scarcely less prominent was an ample, cushioned easy chair over the head of the bed, also white, with a footstool before it, and looking, as I thought like a pale throne". This simile indicates the dais of God in heaven. Bronte set the chair over the bed which would be to Jane, a throne awaiting the tabernacle. Therefore, Bronte has used the furniture of the room to represent a house of worship in Jane's eyes, which illustrates her knowledge of the Christian idealogies.
Rhys used a similar description to show Antoinette's religious outlook. Unlike Jane, Antoinette entered the room through her subconscious; she was dreaming. However, she did recognize the room as a church. "I looked around for the altar for with so many candles and so much red, the room reminded me of a church". Rhys vocalizes through Antoinette that the room was "like a church without an altar". Void of a sanctuary, the room is in essence, void of God. Despite her want of God, Antoinette has no Divine guidance as she remains in the altar-less room. Rhys has created this room in Antoinette's dream ergo she has control over Antoinette's religious state. Due to this circumstance, Antoinette will never remember God because Rhys will never allow her to dream of Him.
Heaven is exemplified in both books. "Out of these deep surrounding shades rose high, and glared white, the piled up mattresses and pillows of the bed, spread with a snowy Marseilles counterpane". With this image of white pillows and mattresses floating up in the red room, clouds in the celestial skies are represented. Bronte has brought to Jane a church, a tabernacle, God's throne, and now heaven. Since Bronte has deluged Jane with all of these pious suggestions, she has adumbrated Jane's religious associations. No...