© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea


by Jean Rhys

Analysis: Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

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 great-grandfather, John Potter Lockhart, bought Geneva plantation in 1824, but much of it was destroyed during the riots following emancipation in 1844. Although she lived in England and Europe for most of her adult life, she was much affected when she visited her ancestral home in 1936 after it had burned down in 1930. (Source)

Rhys worked as a chorus girl, among other jobs, before she became a writer. She was mentored by Modernist writer Ford Maddox Ford, with whom she eventually had an affair. (Source)

Rhys considered The First Mrs. Rochester¸ Creole, and Le Revenant as other titles for Wide Sargasso Sea. (Source)

The Sargasso Sea is integral to the general mystery surrounding the Bermuda Triangle, an area in the Atlantic Ocean where many ships and planes have reportedly been lost. In one story, the Ellen Austin (a schooner) found a stranded schooner in 1881. Some of the crew members boarded the stranded ship and both ships sailed together for port. Two days later, the Ellen Austin saw the stranded schooner again, weaving about in an irregular way. When boarded yet again, the ship showed no traces of the crew. (Source)

Coco the pyro-parrot may not be such a random character after all. In 1816, a law was passed in Jamaica that forbade slaves from possessing parrot beaks, among other things, because they were used in obeah witchcraft. (Source)

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...