Are there examples of both intentional and unintentional intertextuality in Wide Sargasso Sea?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The obvious example of intentional intertextuality in Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea is the re-creation of Bronte's character Bertha Mason from Jane Eyre.  In Wide Sargasso Sea, Antoinette Cosway (later to become Bertha Mason) narrates the story and gives voice to the life that she had before the series of events portrayed in Jane Eyre.  Set as a prequel to Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea narrates the details of Antoinette's life that led her to the brink of insanity.

In addition of the intentional intertextuality created by the re-vision of Jane Eyre, Rhys may have also created unintentional intertextuality through the use of postcolonial discourse in the novel.  The Cosway family is shunned by others because of their poverty, and defining the family's race becomes problematic among the characters.