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The Importance Of Truth In Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea

1229 words - 5 pages

The Importance of Truth in Wide Sargasso Sea

In Wide Sargasso Sea " Rhys presents a white Creole family living in a Caribbean Island (Jamaica), which is a lush and insecure world for them, after the liberation of the slaves. The husband had once been a slaveholder, the mother is a confused and crazy lady and Antoinette, the daughter, is a child in an atmosphere of fear, recrimination and bitter anger. She becomes increasingly isolated-this isolation is broken by her scheming stepbrother, who signs Antoinette's inheritance over to the naive Mr. Rochester. The book's account of Antoinette's marriage to Mr. Rochester is a study in sexual manipulation and cultural misunderstanding. There is also foreshadowing, irony, and symbolism throughout Wide Sargasso Sea.

In Wide Sargasso Sea, Antoinette's family is shattered when the ex-slaves torched their home. Her brother died in the fire and that caused her mother to go insane, then her husband left her, which even made her situation worse. Under the care of her aunt, she attended a convent. The convent became her refuge and sunshine, a place where she wished for happiness. "I thought at first, is there no happiness? There must be. Oh happiness of course, happiness, well." (Rhys 34) After all, Antoinette never was a very happy child. Her parents never really gave her love, her father was too busy drinking himself to death and her mother was too busy doing her own thing.

After her stepfather's death, her stepbrother decided to marry her off to this Englishman, Mr. Rochester, which she knew nothing about. Mr. Rochester did not marry Antoinette for love or because he fancied her. He married her to claim her fortune. Mr. Rochester seemed to marry Antoinette for money, or perhaps for lust, or perhaps for power. He was the second child and his older brother inherited their parent's inheritance. He was the lowlife in his family, so he decided to claim something of his own. He married Antoinette and used sexual manipulation to control her even though he did not love her at all. Mr. Rochester makes love to Antoinette in part to gain power over her; in other words he was just using her to get her fortune and property.

Antoinette's stepbrother wanted him to marry her because no one else would. But he was doing the same thing to Antoinette because he was only marrying her for her money and not for love. Soon after Mr. Rochester started to call Antoinette "Bertha," instead of her real name, because in his mind if there was no Antoinette then he wasn't really married. So he gave her a new identity. He could do what ever he wanted whenever he pleased. He slept with Amelie (the cook) in the room beside Antoinette's room so she could hear them. He proved that he did not want to be married to her and he did not love her. It was also proven that he was just using her for her fortune and property. When he received the news that his brother and father died he moved back to England, bringing her with him and...

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