Wide Sargasso Sea
Wide Sargasso Sea
by Jean Rhys

Wide Sargasso Sea Analysis

Literary Devices in Wide Sargasso Sea

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Antoinette explains to Rochester that she "loved" the land because she "had nothing else to love" (II.6.3.36). You could say the land is itself a character in the novel. The description of the land...

Setting

While the novel never gives us the exact year, we know that the novel is set in Jamaica at some point after 1834. (By the end of Part I, Antoinette mentions that she enters the convent in 1839 [I.2...

Narrator Point of View

The novel is a patchwork of various first-person narratives, told directly to the reader (Antoinette, Rochester) or told to another character (Grace Poole). Moreover, the narratives often relate th...

Genre

We've got a lot of genres here, but they can all really be explained by the genre of "literary fiction." Wide Sargasso Sea is very in-your-face about the fact that it's tackling one of the classics...

Tone

Despite the sympathy Rhys expressed for Antoinette's situation in her letters, in the actual novel the prevailing attitude is critical. It's not that the novel disapproves of anyone necessarily, bu...

Writing Style

We're not talking super-hard vocabulary or weird syntax here. The language in Wide Sargasso Sea is simple, but every word is weighted with enormous significance. Take the first line for example:The...

What's Up With the Title?

The title of the novel refers to the Sargasso Sea, a vast area of the northern Atlantic Ocean which is home to sargassum, a kind of seaweed. The Sargasso Sea is legendary for being an oceanic black...

What's Up With the Ending?

To answer this question, we first have to figure out what the ending isn't. It is certainly true that Wide Sargasso Sea is a kind of prequel to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. (For more on the J...

Tough-o-Meter

While the language is simple and easy to follow, the themes are complex, and it can be confusing sorting through all the different points of view.

Plot Analysis

After Coulibri burns down, her brother dies, and her mother goes mad, Antoinette ends up in a convent school in Spanish Town, Jamaica.Part I of the novel does most of the work of setting up the ini...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy

After a difficult childhood, Antoinette comes of age in a convent school, where all the sermons about the blessed life after death make her wonder whether happiness is possible in this life.Due to...

Three Act Plot Analysis

After a troubled childhood and adolescence, Antoinette meets and marries Edward Rochester.While their honeymoon is passionate at first, it cools drastically when Rochester receives a letter contain...

Trivia

Many elements in the novel parallel Rhys's own life. Like Antoinette, Rhys came from a white Creole family; her mother was a third-generation white Creole and her father was a Welsh doctor. Her gre...

Steaminess Rating

Antoinette and Rochester's relationship is passionately physical at one point – after all, they're newly-wedded. As their relationship deteriorates, Antoinette uses sex to manipulate Rocheste...

Allusions

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre – the novel as a whole tells the story of Bertha Mason, a character in Jane Eyre, but here are the explicit allusions: II.5.2.14; II.6.6.41; III.6.1; III.7.4L...

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