Wide Sargasso Sea Essay, Research Paper
Jane Eyre page 199
“I seldom saw her alone, and had very little private conversation with her. A
marriage was achieved almost before I knew where I was. Oh, I have no respect for
myself when I think of that act! An agony of inward contempt masters me. I never loved, I never esteemed, I did not even know her… I found her nature wholly alien to mine; her tastes obnoxious to me; her cast of mind common, low, narrow, and singularly incapable of being led to anything higher, expanded to anything larger.”
Wide Sargasso Sea page 93
“As for the happiness I gave her, that was worse than nothing. I did not love her. I was thirsty for her, but that is not love. I felt very little tenderness for her, she was a stranger to me, a stranger who did not think or feel as I did. One afternoon the sight of a dress which she d left lying on her bedroom floor made me breathless and savage with desire. When I was exhausted I turned away from her and slept, still without a word or a caress.”
Mr. Edward Rochester has a strange relationship with his wife Antoinette (Bertha) Mason Rochester. He characterizes this marriage as emotionless. In both accounts of the Jane Eyre story, Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, and Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys, Mr. Rochester professes to not knowing Antoinette. This relationship is based solely on physical acts, not on emotions. What Mr. Rochester does not realize, however, is how similar he and Antoinette really are.
In Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester tells Jane that he found Antoinette’s “nature wholly alien to (his nature).” They are totally different people. “I did not even know her” he pronounces. Their marriage is not based on emotional feeling. Mr. Rochester tries to persuade Jane to still love him by telling her the truth as he sees it. He and Antoinette are not meant to be together, he muses, because they are so different. He and Jane, however, are soul-mates.
Mr. Rochester makes a comment similar to this in Wide Sargasso Sea. He observes that he “did not love (Antoinette).” He is only “thirsty for her” but Mr. Rochester does not consider this love. Instead Antoinette “was a stranger to (him)… who (does) not think or feel as (he does).” Mr. Rochester makes this comment to the reader to make his thoughts and intentions clear. He obviously only wants Antoinette for a physical relationship and does not care about her emotionally. He says “one afternoon the sight of a dress which she’d left lying on her bedroom floor made me breathless and savage with desire.” He wants to love her but cannot love a stranger and makes no consious effort to bridge their differences. Mr. Rochester knows nothing about Antoinette. This passage shows the inability Mr. Rochester has with coping with the emotional part of his marriage.
This similar attitude of Mr. Rochester brings a consistency to these two stories, told from different points of view. Since Wide Sargasso…
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