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Differences Between Gender And Class In Wide Sargasso Sea Women Should Control Their Own Fate

1244 words - 5 pages

   Indeed, Antoinette’s husband does not love her, but he wants to control her. “Rochester’s preestablished knowledge and presentations produced by the Victorian ideologies of racial and cultural superiority are not just directed at his wife, but infuse his interactions with the black and colored population even more imposingly”( Roper 83). As an knowledgeable English man, Rochester, Antoinette’s husband, has extremely different background from Antoinette. He thinks he is powerful and noble. The ideologies makes him arrogant-- he wants to conquer and control; he wants to become the master of Antoinette even though he knows that Antoinette might become a madwoman staying with him. This is an ...view middle of the document...

Antoinette does not care about time, things and people that do not belong to her. It seems to show that Antoinette gradually knows what she wants. Gazing at her red dress, “the color of fire and sunset, smelling of vetivert and frangipanni, of cinnamon and dust and lime trees when they are flowering”(185), she draws upon the fearsome female power of West Indies slaves to free themselves. That is how a lunatic prisoner seizes the memory and yearns for freedom.
  Antoinette does not want to be locked forever, she has a recurring dream about taking Grace's keys and exploring the house's downstairs quarters. “That was the third time I had my dream, and it ended. In my dream I waited till she began to snore, then I got up, took the keys and let myself out with a candle in my hand”(Rhys 187). Antoinette has the burning desire to leave-- she wants to regain her freedom. So, she acts after dreaming about escape again and again. Actually, Antoinette’s bitter experience teaches her to pursue heaven without cruelty and prohibition. She wakes from this dream that night and feels she must act on it. And she burns the house down, hoping she will not be imprisoned. “The triumphant conflagration of Thornfield Hall in Wide Sargasso Sea might at one level mark a vengeful attack upon the earlier textual structure”(Smith). Antoinette losses her freedom for a long time. She eventually chooses to escape from the place without love and warm and to destroy the hateful attic which takes her hope and freedom. She eventually feels that a woman should own rights. At that time, she is not a resigned wife but a free woman who bravely runs away from violence and unfairness caused by class and gender.
  People’s different racial identity, culture, class and gender confuses and hurts Antoinette. Positively, these differences between her husband and her finally change Antoinette’s mind. She already accepted an arranged unfortunate marriage and was hurt by the mismatch. She plans to choose a way to go. “When Antoinette dreams her dream for the third and last time, in Thornfield Hall, she cries out to Christophine for help and sees that she has ‘been helped’ by ‘a wall of fire’”(Erwin 143). Somehow, it is a misfortune arouses solicitous emotion about freedom in Antoinette’s heart. Desperately, she burns the house which she thinks is a jail. She regains her freedom and may keep regret and despair away. Wide Sargasso Sea thoroughly gives examples which show women owned few freedom during 1900s. However, women seem to be dauntless and sober when they are deeply hurt. Why do they keep brave and struggle for freedom among different class and gender? Wide Sargasso Sea...

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