Wide Sargasso Sea: The Transforming Vision
Wide Sargasso Sea, over which Rhys labored for many years, demonstrates her complex management of sometimes competing demands. In responding to Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel Jane Eyre, Rhys found that she must make her way to a delicate balance of homage and critique as she revisited the work of her literary foremother and thereby traversed once again the realm of pre-Oedipal relations. The developmental journey of Rhys’s protagonist Antoinette speaks to the multiple challenges that this novel addresses: offering ambiguous and mutually incompatible interpretive possibilities, Antoinette’s story suggests her abject state of enthrallment to a maternal presence or, alternatively, her capacity for an empowered self-assertion. On the other hand, the discerning reconfiguration of elements of Brontë’s text proves, for Rhys as author, to be ultimately affirmative, evidencing her agile negotiations on the terrain of both connection and difference.
KeywordsStick Figure Transitional Object Final Page Island Culture Maternal Presence
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