Wide Sargasso Sea and Antoinette
In Wide Sargasso Sea, author Jean Rhys uses intertextuality to tell the story of Antoinette Mason. Intertexuality is when an author bases their book/novel off of another text. In this case, Wide Sargasso Sea is shaped from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and it elaborates on the character of Bertha, who is Antoinette Mason in Rhys’ novel. By reading Wide Sargasso Sea we are enlightened on things in Jane Eyre that Bronte does not tell us about or elaborate on. Also, by reading Jane Eyre we understand things about Wide Sargasso Sea that Rhys doesn’t include in her novel. Both authors have created compelling novels that aren’t built from each other and provides a deeper understanding of one another.
Rhys is quoted saying “Whether I have any right to do it is a question I’ll face later” (217). When examining the texts, it is apparent that she is not stealing or attempting to take credit for Jane Eyre. Yet she is only telling it from Rochester’s crazy wife, Antoinette/ Bertha’s perspective. I feel that she has every right to do this because she is molding a story of her own based on a minor character whose story is never told. Whether the two stories could exist without the other is another question.
Jane Eyre is an interesting story that creates suspense and mystery, but provides closure at the end. We are left to wonder about Rochester’s past up until the story is almost over. We come to find out the he was married to Antoinette, a lunatic whom he locked up in a room with only Grace Poole to watch over her. It is assumed that how Rochester’s marriage came to be was something Bronte wanted the reader to wonder about, and even make up circumstances on their own. Jane Eyre is an excellent novel that has no problem standing on its own.
Wide Sargasso Sea is a story about the life of one of Bronte’s characters in Jane Eyre who plays a brief role but is crucial to the story. Antoinette lived a very underprivileged life