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Through your understanding of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Wide Sargasso Sea and with reference to your understanding of the social contexts within which they were written, was it inevitable that the marriage between Bertha Mason and Edwa

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Introduction

Through your understanding of "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte and "Wide Sargasso Sea" and with reference to your understanding of the social contexts within which they were written, was it inevitable that the marriage between Bertha Mason and Edward Rochester would fail? I believe that the social rules and requirements of the time would never have allowed Rochester and Bertha to co exist happily. Rochester and Bertha were different in every way and this contributed greatly to the failure of the marriage. I believe that the marriage failure was inevitable. The novel "Wide Sargasso Sea" by Jean Rhys is told from Berthas point of view, this gives Bertha the voice she was denied in "Jane Eyre". It was written in the 1960's benefits from Bertha's demise having already been written in "Jane Eyre" as we then know what happens to her once "Wide Sargasso Sea" is over. I believe that the marriage failure was inevitable because the social rules and requirements of the time would never have allowed Bertha and Rochester to so exist happily. "Jane Eyre" was written in 1847 when there was no gender or social equality. ...read more.

Middle

Power is also a major factor in the marriage failure. Throughout Bertha's relationship with Rochester in "Wide Sargasso Sea" there is a distinct impression that Bertha is an object for Rochester to own and possess. He frequently refers to her as "doll" and "marionette". This shows that to Rochester, Bertha is something he can control and manipulate in his quest for power in their relationship. It also foreshadows what will happen to Bertha when she is taken to England. When you finish with dolls you put them in the attic, Rochester is done playing so he puts Bertha out of sight. Bertha's inability to escape her marriage and oppression by Rochester is shown in the imagery and powerful symbolism of Coco the parrot. Mr Mason has Coco the parrot's wings clipped in order to control the bird, however when the House is burnt to the ground Coco cannot fly from the burning building. This symbolises how Bertha is oppressed by Rochester and shows the marriage failure. It also foreshadows Bertha's fiery demise. Another reason the marriage was inevitable was because they were from completely different places with completely different attitudes and beliefs. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion I think that the marriage failure was inevitable for many reasons. Firstly Victorian society would not allow Rochester and Bertha to be together, they were too different. Bertha was too beautiful and Rochester was too lustful towards her. Secondly Bertha and Rochester were from completely different places. Rochester hated the West Indies it was too extreme and Bertha hated Britain, therefore Rochester couldn't be happy in the West Indies and Bertha couldn't be happy in England. Also during this period Caribbean society was passionate and a little wild whereas Britain was more contained, in Victorian times opposites did not attract. Thirdly Christian Dogma said that sex was meant strictly for procreation and that lust wasn't meant to be felt by either husband or wife, therefore Rochester and Bertha went against this ideal. Bertha was too beautiful for Rochester not to feel lustful, and for this Rochester resented Bertha. Finally Rochester and Bertha were in a relationship whereby neither of them had power. However both felt that there should be a power hierarchy in their relationship. It is for these reasons that the failure of the marriage was inevitable and not due to the madness of Bertha Mason or fate. Bethan Colborne English Literature LT2 ...read more.

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