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Manipulation and Sex in "Wide Sargasso Sea" "Wide Sargasso Sea," a book by Jean Rhys, is a story about a Creole woman living

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Author: Anne Rackwitsz for University of English Manipulation and Sex in "Wide Sargasso Sea" "Wide Sargasso Sea," a book by Jean Rhys, is a story about a Creole woman living in the Caribbean at the time of the colonialism. The novel is set in the early nineteenth century at two places. The first part of the novel is set in the West Indies on the islands Jamaica, Martinique and the second in England, Europe. Men at that time had all power. This was especially true for white men. It is remarkable how Mr Rochester in the novel attempts to overpower Antoinette Cosway. In their arranged marriage, Rochester attempts to control Antoinette with, first of al, sex. Rochester enchants Antoinette by being frequently sexually active with her in order to get power in their relationship. Later he withholds sex, as well as any other physical or emotional contact with Antoinette, as a way to release his anger at Antoinette for being deceived into this marriage. Rochester also tries to overpower Antoinette by having sexual intercourse with Am�lie, which causes Antoinette to become jealous. Another feature that clarifies the significance of Rochester's power in Rhys's novel is that Rochester tries to rename Antoinette, which at that time was frequently done to names of slaves. ...read more.


"I hate it now like I hate you."6 Here she speaks about how Rochester's deed changed her feelings for the manor. At that moment, she stops crying and says, "Is she so much prettier than I am? Don't you love me at all?"7 Rochester answers with the shocking information that he does not love her. In the novel "Wide Sargasso Sea" by Jean Rhys the character of Mr Rochester tries to change Antoinette Cosway by renaming her Bertha. According to Jayachandran, "It is agonisingly reminiscent of the renaming of slaves by slave owners Antoinette does her best not to be deprived of probably the only thing she now has by resisting this. The more Rochester insists, the firmer her resistance becomes." 8 Rochester is not satisfied with his Creole wife, therefore is determined to change Antoinette into an English woman by changing Antoinette's name into Bertha. According to Robert Kendrick Rochester attempts to "imagine Antoinette into the role of a proper English wife, and is forced to recognize her ultimate inability to conform to the discourses which constitute the normal within the frame of English upper class subjectivity"9 Rochester renames Antoinette and says, "Don't laugh like that, Bertha." Moreover, Antoinette responds with, "My name is not Bertha; why do you call me Bertha?" Rochester's argument to that is, "Because it is a name I'm particularly fond of. I think of you as Bertha." ...read more.


Rochester enchants his young wife by frequently having sexual intercourse with her. After Rochester receives Daniel Cosway's threatening letters and pays Daniel a visit, Rochester feels more dissatisfied with his marriage, denies sex with Antoinette, and betrays her with Am�lie. With this, Rochester takes Antoinette's feeling of being loved from her which she never had before. Rochester also tries to change Antoinette's name into Bertha, because to him it is more English. With the renaming Rochester seems to fail, so he turns her into Bertha by taking Antoinette against her will to England. Here Rochester imprisons Antoinette, now Bertha, as last try to regain power over Antoinette. All of Rochester's attempts to regain power over Antoinette fail when Antoinette turns mad and sets fire on the house where Rochester and his new wife Jane now live. The power of masculinity that Rochester desired is vanished. 1 Rhys Jean, Wide Sargasso Sea. (London: Penguin 2001 [1966]) 55 2 Ibidem, 55 3 Ibidem, 56 4 Ibidem, 54 5 Ibidem, 89 6 Ibidem, 95 7 Ibidem, 95 8 U, Jayachandran. Unitra. Subversion in Women's Fiction: Power Relations And Alienation in Jean Rhys's "Wide Sargasso Sea" and Arundhati Roy's "The God of Small Things" 9 Kendrick, Robert. Edward Rochester and the margins of masculinity in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea. (Papers on Language & Literature, Summer, 1994) 10 Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea (London: Penguin 2001 [1966]) 86 11 Ibidem, 87 12 Ibidem, 95 13 Ibidem, 114 14 Ibidem, 119 ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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