Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Weary of the Wild

Just as a forewarning, this blog might be a little chopping in a writing sense because I have many ideas and I don’t feel like posting separate blogs! J

In my opinion, I believe that Jean Rhys foreshadows instances of Antoinette’s insanity. For example, on pages 44 and 64 in Wild Sargasso Sea, she hints to Rochester  that something might be wrong with Antoinette because her door is able to be bolted shut. Now if I were Rochester, that would be a sign of abnormality. I would be questioning why my wife’s room is able to be bolted shut when everyone else’s doesn’t. In addition, it’s ironic how her rooms in Jamaica are bolted shut and also the one at Thornfield is bolted, is it not. Regressing back a couple of pages, to page 42, Antoinette mocks Rochester by repeating, “England, England,” and Rochester states that “the sound went on and on like a warning I did not choose to hear.” Here is a prime example where something seems off, but Rochester chooses not to follow his instinct about his wife. Here is where what happens to Bertha and Rochester later in their married life that Rochester sort of assumed his own fate. He chose to ignore multiple signs of his wife’s insanity and was therefore subject to what was to become of his relationship with Antoinette. On a different note, on page 49, Rochester sings a song to Antoinette that reads, “Hail to the queen of the silent night/Shine bright, shine bright Robin as you die.” Also, earlier on this page, Antoinette tells Rochester that there was a full moon on the night of her dream experience with the rats. This immediately sends red flags going off in my head. First, the full moon and the queen of the silent night indicate to be of Antoinette of being a lunatic. Lunatic coming from the Latin word Luna, meaning moon. Also, it seems like when Rochester is signing that song to Bertha, that he is foreshadowing her fate because he’s singing of death, and that is ultimately what happens to Bertha. One last idea that I would like to point out is that of the symbolism of fire. In Wide Sargasso Sea, Antoinette’s child home is burnt down like a fire. It seems like her soul had caught like a fire and was never actually put out because of how she was never able to let go. Finally, in Jane Erye, before Bertha commits suicide, she lights the house on fire, symbolizing to be her being free because she is finally able to put out the fire inside her.


  1. I like the argument. What you need to think about is why would Rhys so often foreshadow A/B's madness and have R so often ignore it? What's the larger meaning of this dynamic?

    Definitely a good start to a paper! And, I think the fire imagery can work in there (potentially).

  2. Definitely agree that Bertha's insanity is foreshadowed quite a few times by Rhys. I think part of it is just to point out that Rochester does ignore the warnings. Rhys is assuming we know the story of Jane Eyre and that Bertha will go completely insane, so I don't think the foreshadowing is so much for us as it is for Rochester. Ignoring his wife's mental condition just adds to the blame Eyre already placed on him. In that not only does he marry her knowing she's not entirely competent, but under Rhys' writing, he also pretends to love her just to get both of them past this "obstacle".