Wide Sargasso Sea Plot

1905 Words8 Pages
Critically Evaluate Plot Jean Rhys’s novel, “Wide Sargasso Sea” is set on the Caribbean island of Jamaica during the 1830s. Rhys's account of English colonialism and capitalist ideals comes through in her representation of post-Emancipation Jamaica. She exposes the corrupted beliefs of the slave-owning elite and although she offers Rochester's perspectives and feelings within the novel, her point of view seems prominently Caribbean and biased towards Antoinette, the central character. Part One Part one is narrated by Antoinette Cosway, the heroin of Rhys’s novel “Wide Sargasso Sea” and the unfortunate character ‘Bertha’ of Charlotte Bronte’s novel “Jane Eyre”. Antoinette's story begins when she is a young girl in early nineteenth century Jamaica; the white daughter of ex-slave owners, Alexander Cosway and Annette Cosway-Mason. Antoinette lives on a run-down plantation called Coulibri Estate; the deterioration of Coulibri Estate perhaps also mirrors the deterioration of the relationship between the white slave owners, the servants and islanders of Jamaica. The novel starts five years after the death of Antoinette’s father, Mr Cosway, who apparently “drank himself to death” (page 13). His death was supposedly due to the state of his finances after the launch of the Emancipation Act of 1833, which freed black slaves and led to the demise of many white slave owners. Throughout part one the hostility between the collapsing white upper classes and the disadvantaged servants they employ is apparent as the driving force behind Rhys’s initial chapter. Antoinette lives at Coulibri Estate with her widowed mother, Annette, her disabled younger brother Pierre, and their servants. Antoinette spends her days in isolation because of the inadequate relationship she has with her mother. Antoinette’s mother is a beautiful young woman who is detested by the islanders,
Open Document