Representation of a Woman in Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea

Yılmaz V. B.

1st International Women Women Studies Congress, Ankara, Turkey, 8 - 09 March 2021, vol.1, no.1, pp.430-437

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 1
  • City: Ankara
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.430-437


Jean Rhys’s striking novel Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) is a harsh feminist reply to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847). Indeed, Rhys’ main aim in writing this novel was to write a life and a voice to a mad woman in the attic, who is deprived of these in Bronte’s novel. Thus, Wide Sargasso Sea is, in a way, a precursor for Bronte’s novel as it depicts the mad woman’s life before she gets into the attic. Wide Sargasso Sea opens the doors of the attic and lets the mad Creole woman speak. Rhys re-writes and subverts the colonial discourse by portraying two women in her novel, Antoinette and an ex-slave from her family, Christophine. Both women in this novel represent an image of a woman suppressed under the colonial and patriarchal discourse. This study will analyse Antoinette and Christophine as figures who try to withstand colonial and patriarchal pressures and who, in a way, avoid failure to some extent. The study will conclude that Rhys’ novel presents these tiny steps in women’s irrepressible movement in order to awake readers to the hidden realities of the patriarchal world, the realities hidden in the attic.