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Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys

Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys

Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys

Date Started: September 5, 2011. 10:15 PM.

Just last week, I was able to watch the film adaptation of Jane Eyre. I was reluctant to see it because I always want to read the book version first before watching its movie counterpart. I gave in anyway. The book and the movie are separate entities, so what the hey.

And it’s good that I’ve seen the film because this book is about the mad wife of Rochester. It tells her story: how she met Rochester, the romantic opposite of Jane Eyre, how she lived her marriage with him, how she made a lunatic of herself, how her life began and ended.

And oh, this is like a repeat of the previous book that I read. I am done with it in more or less than 24 hours. I am really becoming a voracious reader, which is really good. But yes, these recent two books are not bricks. Let’s see what’s in store next.

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8 Comments

  1. Wow, so you read Wide Sargasso Sea before you read Jane Eyre? That’s interesting. Most of the time it’s the other way around. So what do you think of Jane Eyre now that you read WSS first? I’m jealous because I read Jane Eyre before WSS and I always wondered what I would think of Jane Eyre if I had read WSS first….

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    • LOL, nothing to be jealous about because I’ve seen the film adaptation of Jane Eyre prior to my reading. First, I didn’t even know that WSS is a reading apropos to Jane Eyre. Rochester’s name was not even mentioned in it. Regarding JE, I already have notions of it, having read a Bronte novel before (not Charlotte though).

      But yes, they are books that could exist without the other. I say you should read WSS not because you are interested to know the history of that mad woman, but because you are interested to know what goes on in the mind of a woman warding off the demons that would ultimately lead her to self-destruction.

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    • Well yes, but the movie isn’t the same as the book. I’ve seen the movie I think you’re talking about…is it the latest one with that girl from Alice in Wonderland and Magneto from X-men First Class (sorr, I can’t quite remember their names just now)? Yes, you’re right about reading WSS to delve into the mind of a madwoman, but I think first and foremost is that it’s a “prelude” to JE…which was probably the author’s intention, otherwise, why write a prelude at all? She could have written a similar novel about a woman who went crazy without them having to be the characters of JE…..

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    • That’s Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. I had to double check my spelling for the former’s last name, hahaha.

      I think Jean Rhys was too mesmerized with the character of that woman. In JE, is her name Antoinette or Bertha? Rochester calls her Bertha at the near end of the novel, but the woman denies that that’s her name. Anyway, I see your point, but writing a similar novel would be an insult to her talent. She could be original. I think she wrote that as a tribute both to Bronte and to the empowering female literary characters. Although WSS largely borrowed from Bronte’s novel, it cannot be a prelude in the same way that The Hobbit provides a background to fully understand The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I could be wrong because I haven’t read JE yet, so I should read it and make a mental note of this. :D

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    • Yes, you should definitely read Jane EYre! lol. Well no, it’s not a prelude to JE the way the Hobbit is, of course because for one thing it’s by different authors and I don’t think Bronte ever meant for JE to have a ‘prelude.’ lol. But I say that it was meant as a prelude to JE only in a sense that the events that happened here are before the events in JE. Probably Jean Rhys was mesmerized by Antoinette and Rocherster’s relationship before Jane Eyre and why wouldn’t she be…it’s a very strange relationship and makes it quite hard to grasp Rochester as a ‘hero’ given that he has a ‘lunatic’ wife locked up in his home.

      In the novel Rochester’s wife name is Bertha Antoinetta (or Antoinette) Mason or Antoinette (Antoinetta) Berta Mason but he calls her Bertha which I think she hates in WSS. BTW..have you seen any of the WSS made-for-tv movies?

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    • Really? It would be interesting to see that. I am not good at knowing whether a book has a film/TV adaptation or not.

      Regarding Rochester’s intentions in marrying Antoinette/Bertha, yes, they are laid out there. I think both characters are protagonists. It’s hard not to feel for both, so one is prone to be torn between the two. They are victims of the circumstances they found themselves in.

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    • Hmm, I have no opinion of Jane yet, and I am really looking forward to that novel. My copy is in Baguio City. I have some traveling to do.

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