Top positive review
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on 25 December 2016
Wide Sargasso Sea is Rhys multi-layered and complex prelude to Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ it gives a name, a voice and more importantly an identity to the mad woman in the attic Mr Rochester has locked away in ‘Jane Eyre.’ A postcolonial response this poignant evocation of the bitter romance between the white Creole heiress Antionette Cosway and the increasingly cold Englishman Mr Rochester, Rhys creates a relationship that is intense with the rage of desire and marked by deep tragedy, similarities to Jane Eyre are abound within the story for the literary train-spotters out there.
The story is set in wild, magical Jamaican scenery, and the beauty of the country is beautifully depicted as is the trouble and confusion on West Indian sugar estates in the aftermath of emancipation. Not only is most of the black population as poor as ever, white people are stuck in poverty too. Rhys shows that the movement from colonialism to a racial-political independence, but rather from one form of slavery to another. Some people would argue that you have to have read Jane Eyre first to get this and others that you do not, in my opinion just for the ending of Wide Sargasso Sea to have even more meaning and depth Jane Eyre is essential reading.