Study Guide

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1967) in Feminist Theory

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1967)

Let's keep things rolling on the Jane Eyre front by taking a look at Jean Rhys's humdinger of a re-telling of the story in Wide Sargasso Sea, written over a century later in 1967. Rhys was a Caribbean-English writer, and her remake of Charlotte Brontë's novel puts all of the emphasis on Antoinette Mason, known in Jane Eyre as the crazy, attic-dwelling Bertha Rochester, the original "madwoman" in the attic.

By focusing on Antoinette's early life as a white Creole woman growing up in Jamaica, Rhys draws out all of the gruesome details of British colonialism in the West Indies. That's right: Jane Eyre isn't just a sweeping feminist love story; all kinds of nasty history lurks in the background. And darling Eddie with his wife-locking past may not always have been as charming as he seemed to our sweet Jane.

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