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Compare the presentation of madness in Beloved and Wide Sargasso Sea. To what extent are the novels central protagonists affected by external forces?

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Introduction

compare the presentation of madness in Beloved and Wide Sargasso Sea. To what extent are the novels central protagonists affected by external forces? In accordance with the Collins English dictionary: Mad; suffering from mental disease, foolish, insane, frenzied, infatuated, enthusiastic, angry, annoying, wildly impulsive, excited. The presentation of madness in both Beloved and Wide Sargasso Sea is very forcefully pervaded. The idea of madness within both novels is present from the first chapters "Your mother is in the country. Resting" and "124 was spiteful" Both the characters of Beloved and Wide Sargasso Sea are particularly affected by external forces. When we first meet Antoinette she is a child we are not told much history but can see that she is ...read more.

Middle

We are also able to see what hard times it must have been for the family " she may have sold her last ring for there was one left" this shows that her mother was having to pawn her beloved possessions in order to survive. In both her youth and later life we find that nature is vital it is referred to as a sanctuary, a place of refugee where nothing and no one could touch her " Watching the red and yellow flowers in the sun, thinking of nothing, it was as if a door opened and I was somewhere else, something else not myself any longer" This shows the intrinsic need to get away from her own surroundings, away from her life. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although as the novels progress we are able to see that both of theses characters have found people or things to rely on, which almost take the place of the mother figures in there lives. Ironically for Denver it is the thing which she sub-consciously fears that she learns to rely on, Beloved and for Antoinette it is the ever-changing environment around her. So ultimately even though they find themselves isolated from their families and societies they use escapist techniques to salvage what they can of 'normality'. The isolation that these characters both suffer from ultimately contributes to the madness, which they sustain. As such neither of them are 'mad' but both of them fit in to the description of madness at the top of the page. ...read more.

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