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Female Island: Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea



Two leading articles of feminist hue – “The Laugh of the Medusa” (1976) and “Feminist Criticism in the Wilderness” (1981) – by two seminal figures, Hélène Cixous and Elaine Showalter respectively, grant a new look at Jean Rhys’s novel Wide Sargasso Sea. Two main themes that come to the fore from these two articles with reference to Rhys’s novel are the male-dominated female zone and the importance of female writing for women. Both critics mention the strong hold of patriarchy on women, which is quite obvious in Antoinette’s condition in Rhys’s novel. Next, both Cixous and Showalter claim that while men see the female domain as a dark space, women should stick to their female domain and express themselves through writing. And this is what Rhys does in her novel; she gives a voice to the mad woman in the attic, Antoinette, who has been put there and tagged mad by her husband. By exploring the similarities between feminist criticism in Cixous’s and Showalter’s articles and Rhys’s novel, this study aims to show that although Wide Sargasso Sea is a revolutionary novel with its ability to give the mad woman back her individuality, it is not strong enough to create a world where this woman can experience her individuality.

Frequenza di pubblicazione:
2 volte all'anno
Argomenti della rivista:
Cultural Studies, General Cultural Studies, Literary Studies, general, Literary Theory, Topics in Literary Studies, Other Topics