Wide Sargasso Sea was a novel that I began reading with low expectations, because I was unsure if I would like it or not. After reading the novel, I discovered that there were parts of it that I liked, and parts that I did not particularly care for. I think the parts that I did not care for were the parts that I couldn’t completely comprehend fully. I thought that there was a lot going on throughout the entire book, and that tends to mess with my mind when I read books. I found myself mixing up the characters, and putting the names with the wrong personality. It’s not that I did not particularly hate the book, because I did enjoy it. I tend to enjoy fiction writing more so than nonfiction or narrative writing. I think Jean Rhys was a great writer, and her ideas for Wide Sargasso Sea were definitely good idea that had interesting metaphors and imagery connected to them.
In class, this novel was described as a “stream of consciousness”, and I couldn’t agree more. I think that the description of “stream of consciousness” can be defined as something where the reader must be fully aware of what is happening at all times. Otherwise, the novel becomes something that doesn’t want to be read. I think the decision to write the different parts through narration of Antoinette in parts one and three was interesting because it took place during different times of her life. I liked how part one began the entire novel with a background of what Antoinette went through, growing up as the daughter of former slave owners on an old plantation. Part two was odd, in a good way, only because the narration was by Antoinette’s husband who remained nameless throughout the entire novel. That confused me greatly. He went by the name of Rochester, but I also found my mind wondering what his actual name was, so it was slightly harder for me to get through the second part. Antoinette narrated the third part of Wide Sargasso Sea again, but from a perspective that most people would not think of to write from. She was being held captive in the attic, from which she narrates the last part. I thought this was an interesting way to write part of a novel. I would have never thought to have put a narrator in captivity and tell the story, too. It’s a little odd to me, but I think in this case, it worked pretty well too.
The novel, overall, had some interesting ideas for a story of this time period. The novel was written and published around the time of the women’s rights movement, so I think Jean Rhys’ decision to write a novel with such a powerful female character lead during this time was a fascinating idea.
I liked to think that there were a few scenes from this novel that could very well have doubled as a reality with the relationship with Britain. For example, the section when the house caught fire particularly stuck out in my mind. I thought that this fire could quite possibly double as a metaphor for wanting to burn the British system and government for the slavery that they started earlier. It makes sense, if you think about it because any former slaves or abolitionists would want payback and/or revenge on the ones who ruined their lives. There was another part within this scene where Mr. Mason had clipped their pet parrot’s wings. I saw this a sign of wanting to be in control, and taking freedom and power away from others. Though it was just a bird, it still gave a metaphor for being in power and taking over.