Wide Sargasso Sea

by Jean Rhys

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Topics for Further Study

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Rhys based her character Antoinette Cosway on Bertha Mason, the madwoman in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Compare the depictions of the two women.

In Wide Sargasso Sea the black servants set fire to Coulibri after they learn that Mr. Mason is planning on importing workers from the East Indies. How did the diverse working population—Indian, Chinese, African-Caribbean, white Creole, and European—interact in the nineteenth-century Caribbean?

Investigate the care of the mentally ill in the nineteenth century and compare their treatment to the way in which Annette Cosway Mason and Antoinette Cosway are treated.

Research the living conditions of emancipated slaves in Jamaica and/or Dominica. How accurately does Rhys describe their lives?

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