Caribbean Identity In Wide Sargasso Sea English Literature Essay

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Wide Sargasso Sea Motif Walls Essay

Wide Sargasso Sea Motif Walls Essay

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Wide Sargasso Sea Essay Walls Walls. They have acted in the same way for centuries; they have given people a sense of security, yet at certain times walls turn on people. For some these walls of safety become walls of entrapment. Walls take the very same actions in Jean Rhys’ novel, Wide Sargasso Sea, as they surround the main character, Antoinette Cosway, for her entire life. The use of walls acts as a significant part of Antoinette’s life as they turn her from feeling safe and secure to feeling imprisoned and trapped. Antoinette finds walls very comforting primarily during her childhood.

She, as a child, lives in a world where her mother is insane and the slaves have been recently freed. For her, this is a troubling time as she neither belongs with the whites nor the blacks as she was a Creole. As most children do, she tried to shut out these problems as is evident when Antoinette is in the garden at Coulibri: “I sat close to the old wall at the end of the garden. It was covered with green moss soft as velvet and I never wanted to move again. Everything would be worse if I moved” (Rhys 23). This use of walls demonstrates just how Antoinette gets her sense of security.

These garden walls also demonstrate a biblical reference to the Garden of Eden. God had placed Adam and Eve in this garden to protect them from the outside world, which held many evils. Antoinette felt protected from the outside world just as they had. She also finds a sense of security behind the walls of the convent that she is sent to: “This convent was my refuge, a place of sunshine and of death where very early in the morning the clap of a wooden signal woke the nine of us who slept in the dormitory” (Rhys 56). The convent had protected her from the evils in the outside world such as the boy who knocked her books out of her hands.

Wide Sargasso Sea Motif Walls Essay

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At the end of part one Antoinette had officially become a lady, as she was seventeen. Here she started adulthood and thus began the transformation of walls of safety to walls of imprisonment. This change is first noticed in the very end of the first part when Antoinette has her dream. This dream consists of a nameless man (who we later recognize as Rochester) who leads Antoinette through the forest and into an enclosed garden: “We are no longer in the forest but in an enclosed garden surrounded by a stone wall and the trees are different trees. I do not know them” (Rhys 60).

At this time she feels unsafe because in her dream she is being forced, to go with this man of whom she fears, by the man and the tree. Antoinette marries Rochester, which leads her to a life of sadness. In her marriage to Rochester, Antoinette dies a spiritual death and then awaits her literal one. Rochester learned to hate Antoinette and so he locked her in the attic at Thornfield. This demonstrates clearly the imprisonment that walls create. Jean Rhys tells this part of the story to explain why Antoinette becomes crazy in the novel, Jane Eyre. Need Help
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This is Rhys’ purpose in writing the story. She wanted to put reason behind “Bertha’s” actions. Antoinette has the desire to live again and thus she decides to burn down the house. This desire to live is a correlation to the religious ideas of an afterlife. When she lit the house on fire a wall of fire shot up giving her protection against the people she learned to hate and giving her warmth in her death and new life: As I ran or perhaps floated or flew I called help me Christophine help me and looking behind me I saw that I had been helped.

There was a wall of fire protecting me but it was too hot, it scorched me and I went away from it” (Rhys 189). This wall comes to protect her and save her from the evils that had haunted her. The use of walls were both protecting and imprisoning in the novel. The walls made Antoinette who she was and gave the story a stronger base. This story demonstrates how much the walls surrounding a human can change their life. It can make a person secure and safe and then again it can entrap a person like a caged bird. They have helped and hurt, trapped and saved. They made Antoinette who she was.

Brandon Johnson
Author: Brandon Johnson

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