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Wide Sargasso Sea

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Metaphor for colonialism

Mr. Rochester and Antoinette's relationship is symbolic of colonialism in the Caribbean. Rochester represents England while Antoinette represents the Caribbean who he colonizes and ultimately takes over, uses and exploits her and at the end, he discards her. He tries to...
Mr. Rochester and Antoinette's relationship is symbolic of colonialism in the Caribbean. Rochester represents England while Antoinette represents the Caribbean who he colonizes and ultimately takes over, uses and exploits her and at the end, he discards her. He tries to take away her identity by changing her name to one that she vehemently rejects. This is indicative of the renaming of slaves by slave owners. Antoinette does her best not to be deprived of probably the only thing she owns by resisting this: ¿Bertha is not my name. You are trying to make me into someone else, calling me by another name. I know that is obeah too.¿ Rochester uses his power over Antoinette as husband, man and Master. He attempts through emotional means, but in vain to change the Caribbean Creole Antoinette into the English Bertha.

The relationship between Annette and Mr. Mason is a foreshadowing of the events in Antoinette¿s future. Mr. Mason was captivated by Annette¿s beauty and like Rochester he did not take the time to know his wife¿s inner beauty. He does not listen to his wife¿s opinions concerning slave revolt, showing his authoritative English nature, where he believes in white superiority. He believes that the slaves are like harmless children, but is proven wrong when Coulibri Estate is set on fire. Due to his ignorance, Pierre, Annette¿s son who is mentally and physically disabled dies. This sends an already emotionally unstable woman, insane. Mr. Mason abandons all responsibility of Annette and Antoinette after the fire and sends her (Annette) to live with a black couple who allegedly humiliate and abuse her emotionally. Rhys shows the vulnerability of women in this novel and their naive emotional and physical dependence on men.

posted by HemaG on October 18, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Bought this for my Nook but received the study guide instead. B

Bought this for my Nook but received the study guide instead. B & N needs to FIX this incorrect listing!

posted by 1057453 on April 9, 2012

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  • Posted April 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Wide Sargasso Sea tells the story of the life Bertha led before

    Wide Sargasso Sea tells the story of the life Bertha led before she married Rochester and went crazy and was kept in the attic. The entire story reads very much like stream of consciousness writing and is difficult to get into if you don't enjoy that type of genre. The switching narrators also makes the book difficult to follow, especially since the third section's narrator seems to switch around at random. Personally, I was very interested in reading the book and excited to see what Bertha's life was like before Thornfield, and I was severally disappointed with this novel. While Bertha's childhood explains her eventual desent into madness and the first section of the book is easy to enjoy, the remaining two sections, one of which is told from her husband's point of view, seem to blame Bertha and her mother for her condition. The unnamed male character spends more time running around on the island, drinking and making up excuses for not making his wife happy than he does actually trying to make his wife happy and make the marriage work.
    I will say this though, after reading this book, I have a hard time calling Bertha by the name Bertha. I'd rather call her Antoinette because Bertha is the name that her husband gave her as a means of controlling her and making her into something she wasn't and couldn't be. The fact that the unnamed male character gives her a new name could also be one of the many things that forced her into madness, but because of the biased narrators, we'll never really know for sure.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Complicated and gloomy

    This book is one of those books it is hard to write a review for. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either. The only emotion it left me with was one of sadness.

    The language of the writing is twisted and very rarely uses proper english. There is never a complete sentence. Or something resembling understandable grammer. While this adds to the exotic setting of the book it distracts the reader and makes it harder to understand.

    Another thing is the book switched between the views of Mr Rochester and Antionette (Bertha). Which makes for a good plot but I was often confused which once was currently narrating.

    The relationship between Antionette and Rochester was tumultous, twisted and a little bizare. The book is never graphic or explicit in actuallity. This book was supposed to create sympathy and udnerstanding for Bertha Rochester the famed mad woman in the attic in Jane Eyre. It did not produce as much as I had hoped. I felt anger at her and Mr Rochester and a surpising amound of pity.

    It felt as though the book lacked something. I can't quite put my finger on it but something was lacking. Perhaps that is because it leaves the reader with the feeling of complete emptiness.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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