Literature

Powerful Essays
Mesut GUNENC/ Y1212.620013
Assist. Prof. Dr. Gillian M.E. Alban
ING633 Gender Studies II: Mad, Maligned and Marginal
02.07.2013
Against Society: Women’s Language, Body and Madness in Wide Sargasso Sea and Sula This paper is about women’s language, body and madness and also explains silence, mad and evil women in Wide Sargasso Sea that is written by Jean Rhys and Sula that is written by Toni Morrison. The first novel Wide Sargasso Sea contains women’s body, silence, feminist theories and racial oppression against patriarchy. Jean Rhys, using these perspectives, tells the story of Antoinette, patriarchy, British dominated rules and roles and limited perspectives of a woman. In Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys “exposes the marginalized condition of women within the patriarchal issues such as colonialism, race, political oppression and mental illness” (Carr 123). In this colonized and male dominated society, Jean Rhys explains the silent mad woman. This mad woman represents Bertha in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre who is Mr Rochester’s mad wife. Bertha is an important figure imprisoned in her husband’s attic like Antoinette. Jean Rhys actually tries to reflect Jane Eyre against society in the point of patriarchy and madness. Jean Rhys “develops Bertha’s identity by giving the reader access to the character’s interiority, as expressed through interruptions in the narrative by disjointed memories, dreams and tangential thoughts within parenthetical asides” (Chan 1). Jean Rhys develops Bertha’s identity using Antoinette. The novel heroine Antoinette Cosway is a Creole woman and she lives with her mother Annette, her brother Pierre and her servant Christophine. Antoinette faces a rigid childhood and her mother Annette leaves her very much because Annette spends most of her time with her son Pierre. Her childhood has difficult family relations and no supports. Rhys deconstructs family relations and shapes a silent woman in the society. This silent woman



Cited: Bryant, Gael, Cedric. “The Orderliness of Disorder: Madness and Evil in Toni Morrison’s Sula”. Indiana State University, 1990. Carr, Helen. “A History of Women’s Writing.” A History of Feminist Literary Criticism. Ed. Gill Plain, Susan Sellers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. pp.120–137 Chan, Bonnie Chesler, Phyllis. Women and Madness. New York: Avon Books, 1973. Clement, Catherine. “ The Guilty One”. From The Newly Born Woman. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986. Cixous, Helen. “Sorties”. In La jeune nee. Translated in New French Feminisms. Paris, 1975. ---. The Newly Born Woman. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986 (1976). Gilbert, Sandra M., and Gubar, Susan. The Madwoman in the Attic: the Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century literary Imagination. New Haven: Yale UP, 1979. Gillespie, Diane., Kubitschek, Dehn M. “Who Cares? Woman-Centred Psychology in Sula”. St Louis University, Vol.24, No.1, Spring, 1990. Felman, Shoshanna. “Women and Madness: the Critical Phallacy”. Diacritics 5. No.4, 1975. Irigaray, Luce. “Ce Sexe qui n’en est pas un”. In Ce Sexe qui n’en pas un. Translated in New French Feminisms. Paris, 1977. Jones, R. Ann. “Writing the Body: Toward an Understanding of L’ecriture Feminine”. Feminist Studies 7. No.2. Summer, 1981. Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea. London: Penguin, 1968. Stepto, Robert, B. “‘Intimate Things in Place’: A Conversation with Toni Morrison.” Chant of Saints: A Gathering of Afro-American Literature, Art and Scholorship. Ed. Michael S. Harper and Stepto. Urbana: U of Illinois, 1979. Sullivan, R. Ellie. “Jacques Lacan, Feminism and the Problem of Gender Identity”. Journals Division Substance. Vol.11. No.3. University of Wisconsin Press, 1982.

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