Part 1, Section 1 Summary

Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea is an exploration of the life of a literary character from another novel. In Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847), a character is referred to as the mad wife of Edward Rochester. Her name is Bertha Antoinetta Mason. Bronte depicts her as a Creole woman raised in Jamaica and calls her Antoinette Mason; three generations of her family members have been mad. In Wide Sargasso Sea, Rhys attempts to give Bertha a more full characterization. In a review for London’s Independent, Laura Fish states that Wide Sargasso Sea “gives voice to neglected, silenced, and unacknowledged stories.” This includes stories about “gender, class, race and madness.”...

(The entire section is 762 words.)