Alienation and Isolation In Wide Sargasso Sea

Topics: Black people, Race and Ethnicity, White people Pages: 3 (920 words) Published: November 13, 2013
In the novel Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys repeatedly presents the idea of minority being considered as “other” through the theme of isolation and alienation of her characters and how isolation and alienation influence on the formation of characters’ identities. In Wide Sargasso Sea, different characters experience different types of isolation and alienation but Antoinette, the main character of this book, is the one who is isolated and alienated by the most due to her identity of being a Creole. She is marginalized by both the black majority and white minority on the island, and she is further destroyed when she is isolated and alienated by her husband, Rochester. Jean Rhys reveals that madness of Antoinette is not innate, but rather is a consequence of the isolation and oppression. As Antoinette is neither a black nor a pure white, she and her family are not accepted by any group in the society. Antoinette is alienated by both the whites and the blacks thus she is considered as a double outsider. Such isolation causes her to have ambivalent cultural and racial identity and this can be seen in the diction and tone used by Jean Rhys. On page 93, Antoinette tells Rochester that she has “heard English women call (them) white niggers”, and that “(she) often wonders about who (she is) and where (her) country is and where (she) belongs to and why (she) was ever born at all”. From the syntax and listing of questions in this quote we can sense the feeling of confusion and displacement, which is the result of the society’s isolation. Furthermore, her tone in this quote shows desperation which suggests her absence of acceptance to the society thus her desire to belong somewhere. The lack of acceptance to either community is mentioned again by Christophine when she tells Rochester that Antoinette “is not beke like you, but she is beke, and not like us either” (page 140). This suggests that Antoinette is always in an ambivalent region of identity which does not belong...
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