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Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea

3.3 33
by Jean Rhys, Francis Wyndham

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ISBN-10: 0393308804

ISBN-13: 9780393308808

Pub. Date: 08/01/1982

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

"A considerable tour de force by any standard."—?New York Times Book ReviewJean Rhys's reputation was made upon the publication of this passionate and heartbreaking novel, in which she brings into the light one of fiction's most mysterious characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre.Set in the Caribbean, its heroine is


"A considerable tour de force by any standard."—?New York Times Book ReviewJean Rhys's reputation was made upon the publication of this passionate and heartbreaking novel, in which she brings into the light one of fiction's most mysterious characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre.Set in the Caribbean, its heroine is Antoinette Cosway, a sensual and protected young woman who is sold into marriage to the prideful Rochester. In this best-selling novel, Rhys portrays a society so driven by hatred, so skewed in its sexual relations, that it can literally drive a woman out of her mind.

Product Details

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Norton Paperback Fiction Ser.
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)

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Wide Sargasso Sea 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bought this for my Nook but received the study guide instead. B & N needs to FIX this incorrect listing!
BetsyPatel More than 1 year ago
After purchasing what I thought was the nook book, I found that instead it was a study guide. Highly disappointed. Can't believe I am feeling ripped off by BN.
HemaG More than 1 year ago
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.
Allison_Sorrels More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this an interesting concept to explain why Mr Rochester kept his wife hidden from the world once they were back in England. Considering that I never really liked Jane Eyre, I did always wonder about his wife. When you learn about her life in Jamacia and see all the things she endured, you can see how she went mad. The reason Mr Rochester and her married her to get money that his father badly needed, then he is stuck with her and his father dies. I feel that they both were trapped and neither had a way out until she tries to destory Rochester and his home. The fire finally sets them both free. She watched her brother die in a fire and I feel that this is what set her on the same course but hundreds of miles away in a foreign land.
Pete_Bogg1 More than 1 year ago
In case the reader has not heard, Wide Sargasso Sea is the imagined backstory of the mad woman in Jane Eyre, the implacable enemy of the peace and happiness of her husband, Mr. Rochester, a man who bears as much responsibility for her madness as anyone. Set in a post-slavery Jamaica in the 1840s, the novel tells how Antoinette Mason comes to be the first Mrs. Rochester, and why that marriage was probably doomed from the start. Told with superb skill, it is a beautiful and deeply sad tale that meditates on the interconnections of innocence and knowledge, truth and illusion, memory and identity, love and sex, and trust and betrayal. The author, Jean Rhys, has done justice to that poor woman in the attic of the Rochester mansion, who is mad only because the world is mad. It is one of the finest novels I have read, as haunting as Wuthering Heights. Highly recommended whether you have read Jane Eyre or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
akamedici More than 1 year ago
Yep. It's mislabeled for Nook. Wasted money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
WAL_HannahM More than 1 year ago
As a lit lover, i was fairly skeptical of this book at first. After reading the classic "Jane Eyre" I wasn't sure how the author would make me feel any sympathy for the "mad woman in the attic," Bertha. Jean Rhys, however, took an otherwise one-sided character from the classic novel "Jane Eyre" and gave her a life. This novel begins with a young Antoinette (later Bertha), living happily in the West Indies with her family and many native servants. Soon the innocent young girl's life is turned upside down with the uprising of the servants, the death of her brother and mother, and being sent to a convent school by her step father whose visits are few and far between. Once Antoinette has finally become used to her life at the convent school, another drastic change is made to her life: Her step father, Mr. Mason, and her step brother have set up a marriage for the beautiful, eligible Antoinette. The man she is to marry remains nameless throughout the novel, but if the reader is familiar with "Jane Eyre", they will surely recognize the man. After their marriage Antoinette is plagued by doubt of whether her husbands love is true, while her husband is worrying about whether his wife is sane or mad. When the man receives a letter from a distant relative of Antoinette, his fears are realized and he begins to deny Antoinette her identity by calling her Bertha, rather than her beautiful name. Upon their return to England, the nameless man keeps Antoinette, now Bertha, locked in a room in the attic of his large home. The ending of this novel is similar to that of "Jane Eyre," but rather than feel sympathy for Jane and Rochester because of the morbid actions of the "mad woman in the attic," the reader has a new set of feelings inflicted by the tormented character of Antoinette. This novel is a great follow up to "Jane Eyre," especially for those who are curious about how Bertha became the "mad woman in the attic."
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Grammanessa More than 1 year ago
If you've read and loved Jane Eyre, this novel is a must-read. If you haven't, you'll still find Wide Sargasso Sea a fine read. Original, beautifully written, and wonderfully sensual, this book belongs in your permanent library.
paula7574 More than 1 year ago
I recently finished reading Jane Eyre and while doing more research about the story online, discovered this book. The back story involving the first Mrs. Rochester was too intriguing to pass up. There are parts of this book that are a little difficult to follow, but overall, it was a great story. Where Jane Eyre left the reader thinking the worst of "Bertha" Rochester, this novel created a much more sympathetic character out of her, while not tarnishing Mr. Rochester for lovers of the original book. Ms. Rhys vividly describes the world of the West Indies and the sharp contrast between that and the world of England. I would recommend this book to anyone. However, even though it is, essentially, a prologue to Jane Eyre, it should not be read first. I think that knowing this story ahead of time, would make the drama in Charlotte Bronte's book less intense. It would negate the gothic appeal of Jane Eyre. I understand their is another book, The Eyre Affair, while not related to the story, it is supposed to be very good for fans of both these novels. As I haven't yet read it myself, I hesitate to list it as an "I also recommend." I enjoyed Wide Sargasso Sea and would suggest it to any fan of Jane Eyre who has more questions about the first Mrs. Rochester.
queenanneofdublin More than 1 year ago
I was required to read this book for my Literature class after I read Jane Eyre. To say the least, it was very interesting and captivating. It was interesting to see how this author portrayed the previous life of Mr. Rochester and Bertha. I really thoguht it was cool. However, the book can be a little boring sometimes and downright weird. Nevertheless, it had a lot of symbolism, similies, metaphors, good choice of diction, and big-time foreshadowing. In order to read this book I recommend that you read Jane Eyre first, just so that you do not get lost with the story line. You already know the outcome of the characters, because the book Jane Eyre tells you, but its intersting to see how the characters got to where they did in the book Jane Eyre. So, yes, I definitely recommend this book if you are into knowning more about Jane Eyre and its characters.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
'Wide Sargasso Sea' is an admirable attempt to shed light on the ill-fated wife of Mr. Rochester from 'Jane Eyre,' but it somehow doesn't capture the literary depth in which Brontë delivered in her novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Needless to say the text speaks for itself. You will love it or you will misunderstand it. The reason for this review is that this particular edition of The Wide Sargasso sea has SAFFRON SCENTED PAGES! I swear. If you've read the book then you understand the ingenuity and strange kindness the publishers have bestowed upon Sargasso lovers. Really though, pick up a copy and smell for yourself!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Even thought I didn¿t enjoy the film too much the book itself is phenomenal. The story of Bertha, the first Mrs. Rochester, 'Wide Sargasso Sea' is a not only a brilliant deconstruction of Charlotte Bront¿s legacy, but is also a damning history of colonialism in the West Indies. This novel addresses the issue of race and culture, but it also addresses the inner thought processes of a woman confronted with cultural chaos between the Creole, Jamaican, and British in the Caribbean. Told from different points of view, the text is a tapestry weaving Bertha's story with Edward Rochester's early life. Like the seaweed the book is named for, the structure floats in and out of artistic consciousness as though on a sea of many unwritten stories. Although some might argue that 'Wide Sargasso Sea,' detracts from 'Jane Eyre,' I feel that Jean Rhys gives us a fuller understanding about the cultural historiography that produces 'great literature.' As a champion for the silenced voices, Charlotte Bront herself was all too aware of societies' injustices. While today, 'Jane Eyre' is generally accepted as a tract on social class, feminism, and conscious production of art, 150 years ago, Bront was lambasted by contemporary critics as unchristian, seditious and a poor writer. I can not help but think Bront, as social critic, would have cheered the publication of 'Wide Sargasso Sea.' A wonderful book for anyone studying Latin America or the Caribbean.