Madness as Identity Fragmentation The main focus of this essay is to prove that the madness experienced by a few of the characters in Wide Sargasso Sea is not necessarily an inherent mental illness, but rather a consequence of the stress that colonialism, patriarchy and/or the consequence of existing between spaces has placed on the identity of each of the individuals. Madness in this sense is the fragmentation of an identity, something that both Antoinette and Rochester experience as they find themselves displaced in the world of Wide Sargasso Sea. Wide Sargasso Sea is a complex post-colonial feminist text. The story is deeply psychological, and offers insight into a story never told. It was written to be the voice for the silenced and marginalized …show more content…
After all, the novel sets out to explain the origin of Antoinette’s madness through her own narrative, something she was denied in Jane Eyre. The definition of madness is quite critical in Wide Sargasso Sea as Antoinette is premeditated to lose her sanity due to the original plot in Jane Eyre. There are two types of madness discussed in the novel. The first type is madness as an inherent mental illness. This is carried over from Jane Eyre, and described to be the underlying cause of Antoinette’s madness. In Wide Sargasso Sea, it is Daniel Cosway—in his first letter—that informs Rochester that Antoinette’s family suffers from madness. Daniel writes, ‘There is madness in that family. Old Cosway die raving like his father before him’ and further writes about Mrs Cosway’s descent into madness, and that Antoinette is showing the same symptoms (Part Two, 58-59). Depending on the perspective, this could be seen as something Rochester echoes in Jane Eyre, ‘Bertha Mason is mad; and she came of a mad family;—idiots and maniacs of three generations!’ (249). The second reading of madness is one more commonly explored in literature as a theme to emphasize the devastating effects of losing one’s identity or past. In Colonialism and Cultural Identity, Hogan writes about how identity is separated into two parts according to Lacan theory: practical identity and reflective identity. Practical identity, Hogan writes, is ordinary, habitual, or confident individual action, but individual action interwoven with other individual actions, including those of others (83). In conjunction with practical identity is reflective identity. Reflective identity is one’s self-image, what one thinks of oneself conceptually and perceptually. In Lacan terms it is a constituted ego formed by the recognition of what one is seen and spoken as by others (84). This is divided into two phases. The first phase, The Mirror Stage, occurs in
The primary source, “Olaudah Equiano on Slavery (1789)” reveals to its audience a first point of view of a child who undergoes the process of enslavement. Gustavus Vassa or better known as Olaudah Equiano was a mere child when he was abducted from his village; he describes his journey to the unknown with a flood of different emotions “[A]stonishment, which was soon converted into terror… [E]veryone of their countenances expressing dejection and sorrow” indicates how African people were not fully aware of the situation of the outside world. Therefore, it was valid to say that Africans on board of a slave ship visualize the worse possible outcome, which in Equiano’s case was the anxiety of being devour by the white men.
1854 was a critical time for African American voices in North American media. Nearing the end of slavery, the public perception of Black Americans were greatly affected by written works Americans consumed. Since Black Americans were denied the rights of education, their stories where largely untold or twisted to fit an oppressive narrative. In “Why Establish This Paper”, African American author Ann Shadd Cary uses optimistic tones, pathos, and rhetorical questions to persuade readers to support Black voices and media. Ann Shadd Cary heavily relies on her optimistic tone throughout the essay.
The Power to Dissent Abuse of power presents differently in every text, but is always struggled with or against. In each, an overarching, unseen authority dominates the dystopian works compared. Anthem, a short story by Ayn Rand, establishes the possibility of a reality in which humans are mere cogs in the wheel that is a society devoid of human progress. Likewise, the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood depicts a society stripped of individuality through role relegation and the restriction of communication. Through the presentation of characters oppressed by power, these texts contrast people, as strength as parts of society versus their value as individuals.
Living in such a privileged country people tend to forget the great importance of reading and writing. For Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, and Sandra Cisneros they were trapped in a world where society defined who they were, they were deprived of their identity and were expounded to the lowest expectations of society. With the curse of not knowing was followed by the gift of intellectual integrity to rise above society's expectations. Being born into a life where your future is defined by the civilization around you can supply a person with the state of loneliness. Malcolm X was born into a time where his race was impudent, he was raised in a rough neighborhood.
Literary Analysis of Incantation Alice Hoffman 's powerful story takes place during such a hard time; the Spanish Inquisition in which our protagonist, Estrella de Madrigal faces an arduous decision between her best friend and the Spaniards. “Estrella de Madrigal thought she knew herself: daughter, granddaughter, dearest friend. But the truth is rare in this cruel, unforgiving century in Spain.” In the novel “Incantation,” Alice Hoffman has developed a meaningful yet a ubiquitous theme of how the infamous jealousy can destroy a person in many forms uses the literary devices such as simile and personification. Hoffman 's use of simile develops the theme that jealousy can destroy a person in many forms.
Many people around the world come to America for a better life. America “land of the free” is known for its vast opportunities and equality for all individuals. Although if we look back in history, there was a time where living in America did not welcome opportunities or equality for all individuals. Many dealt with this hardship by protesting. One means of protesting was writing.
Blanche’s insanity emerges as she retreats fully into herself, leaving the world of actual reality, since is is unable to go forward and accept reality. In order to escape reality fully, however, Blanche must come to perceive the exterior world as that of which she has imagined. This, reality is not a solution to Blanche’s fantasy world. Rather, Blanche adapts a world, which she thinks is true, to fit into her delusions. While this has been accomplished with both the physical and the psychological sections, there is no boundary between fantasy and reality in which for Blanche, is permeable.
Whereas as the beginning of the novel the ocean represented cleansing and excitement, Edna now views the sea as her only escape from her limited form in society. Thus, through an existential lens, the symbolic meaning of the sea changes throughout the story as Edna realizes her inability to overcome contemporary definitions of feminism and is forced to seek closure to her despair by turning to the sea one last
In the 1800’s, the societal niche of married women was clearly defined: they were meant to devote every aspect of their lives to their husbands and children. Edna Pontellier, the protagonist in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, struggles to adhere to these standards, and eventually rebels against them. The harsh standards placed on Edna and other women in the novel are like the cages around the metaphorical birds Chopin uses to represent them. Edna's unhappiness in her societal role is realized in the ocean, which symbolizes this awakening and her attempt to escape the gender roles of the nineteenth century.
In Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story The Yellow Wallpaper; the protagonists both live in a society that restrains women from obtaining the freedom they desire. In the stories, Edna’s and Jane’s quests for freedom in a confining society test their strength and lead to moments of madness or depression.
In the novel, The Awakening, Edna Pontellier commits the final act of embracing death once she comes to the realisation that she would always be chained by her obligation to her children thus being incapable of achieving ultimate freedom. To Edna, death becomes a type of spiritual triumph over and a defiant refusal against society and her children’s constraints. She refuses to regression back to her previous self, the demure, submissive woman she was before she arrived at Grand Isle, before she ever came in contact with the Gulf, her true first and final lover, and discovered her true self. The seductive “never ceasing, whispering, clamouring” waters of the sea called to Edna with promises of freedom and rebirth as soon as she stepped foot on Grand Isle.
The reader sees “lost Peruvia” already from the sea, while crossing the Atlantic to reach the shores of a land where “sweet disorder” rules. Williams chooses to describe Peru as “lost” as it acts in the preservation and antiqueness mostly associated with native and indigenious territories away from the city. The adjective also situates her epic within the area of sea discovery, for her British readers go on an adventure, although metaphorically, to a new
Antoinette lacks an identity, not only in the hands of her husband who reduces her personality and changes her name, but also in the eyes of everybody else. She is a puppet, something that belongs to the hands that are holding it; she is what the people think she is and belongs to nowhere. She is trapped in her “own Sargasso Sea”, trapped between two worlds, Europe and Jamaica, but without belonging to any of them. She cannot form her personal identity, but on the contrary “Rhys suggests that so intimate a thing as personal and human identity might be determined by the politics of imperialism” (Chakravorty Spiva, 250), therefore, although Antoinette wishes to become English, it is something she cannot control because there are so many prejudices attached to her Creole condition.
Gothic Horror is a unique style of writing that is “characterized by elements such as fear and death along with romantic themes such as nature, individuality, and extreme emotion” while realism is a writing style that “presents the ordinary, familiar, or mundane aspects of life in a straightforward or matter-of-fact manner that is presumed to reflect life as it actually is.” “The Yellow Wallpaper” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short, horror-filled story that vividly describes the mentally ill narrator’s experiences and emotional struggles of loneliness, anxiety, and uneasiness while being locked in a hideous room by herself for a long period of time. The story is definitely an example of realism, but the gothic horror writing style powerfully presents itself throughout the text with the use of eerie descriptions of the yellow wallpapered room, the narrator's