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Writing beyond the Ending: Jane Eyre and WSS “By turning a classic nineteenth-century novel inside out and giving its voiceless character an explanatory.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing beyond the Ending: Jane Eyre and WSS “By turning a classic nineteenth-century novel inside out and giving its voiceless character an explanatory."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing beyond the Ending: Jane Eyre and WSS “By turning a classic nineteenth-century novel inside out and giving its voiceless character an explanatory story, Rhys has constructed a critical examination of romantic thralldom and marital power--internalized and external institutions that support gender inequality.” (45-6) “By a maneuver of encirclement (entering the story before) and leverage (prying the story open), Rhys ruptures Jane Eyre. She returns us to a framework far from the triumphant individualism

2 Writing beyond the Ending of the character of Jane Eyre by concentrating on the colonial situations….Wide Sargasso Sea states that the closures and precisions of any tale are purchased at the expense of the muted, even unspoken narrative, which writing beyond the the ending will release. (‘Remember,’ Doris lessing reminds us, ‘that for all the books we have in print, there are as many that have never reached print, have never been written down.’” (46) --Rachel Blau DuPlessis

3 New Orleans Voodoo Museum zombies humfo altar

4 Obeah and Voodoo Obeah as a part of Caribbean existence --a creolized practice of African religions and Christianity (memory of Africa)--negative + positive --negative: evil magic (esp. for the white colonizers) --positive: as a source of rebellion against slavery (ex. Nanny and the Maroons in Jamaican legends) Christophine as an obeah woman (a Nanny figure) --Antoinette’s fear--imagining the occult objects hidden in the room (p.18) --black people’s fear of her--Améle (p.61) --the love portion (p.82) and the sleep medicine for Antoinette (p.91)

5 Obeah as Metaphors in WWS letter to Francis Wyndham (4/14/1964) p Rhys’s “writer’s cramp” and the help from “Obeah Night” (p )--a poem written in the name of Edward Rochester or Raworth--“I think there were several Antoinettes and Mr Rochesters. Indeed I am sure…. Mr R.’s name ought to be changed…. In the poem (if it’s that) Mr Rochester (or Raworth) consoles himself or justifies himself by saying that his Antoinette runs away after the “Obeah nights” and that the creature who comes back is not the one who ran away…. Antoinette herself comes back but so changed that perhaps she was ‘lost Antoinette’.” (p.140)--zombie

6 Names name and identity--the African belief in name Daniel Cosway--Esau (p.73)/Is he a Cosway? (p.94) Antoinette Bertha (p.68, 81, 88, 106-7) Marionette (p.92)--Why does Rochester change her names and the significance of this change of names? What is the significance in calling her Marionette (a doll)? the unnamed male narrator in Part II (‘the man in Part III--Why does Rhys choose to let him be the main narrator? Why does she keep him unnamed? (Why does she want to have him sign his name in “Obeah Night”?)

7 Love, Betrayal and Hatred signs of betrayals--cock crowing (p.71, 97-8) Rochester’s affair with Améle after the “obeah night” (p.84)--Why is he having this affair? How do people around Rochester and change their attitudes toward him after this one-nigh-stand and why? (Antoinette, Améle, Baptiste) Rochester’s hatred (p.102) // (p.143) the untold love story between Antoinette and Sandi (p.30)--hints at their sexual relationship (p.72-3, 75, )--white dress (p.76) for Rochester and red dress for Sandi (p.109)

8 Christophine: Between Imperialism and the Native Voice Two major scenes of Christophine in WWS Christophine and Antoinette (p.64-71) Christophine and Rochester (p.90-7) Analyze the powerful presence of Christophine. How does Rhys describe her appearance and her linguistic competence? What is the significance of the fact that she disappears before the end of the novel? Gayatri Spivak and Benita Parry have very different view of Christophine. What is your stand in this argument and why?

9 Two Quotes about Christophine Spivak on imperialism: “Christophine is tangential to this narrative. She cannot be contained by a novel which rewrites a canonical English text within the European novelist tradition in the interest of the white Creole rather than the native.” (p.246) Parry on Spivak: “what Spivak’s strategy of reading necessarily blots out is Christophine’s inscription as the native, female, individual Self who defies the demands of the discriminatory discourses impinging on her person.” (p.248)

10 Spaces: the Caribbean vs. England different gardens: Coulibri and Granbois “enclosed garden” (p.36) different dreams (nightmares) (p.47, 72) places without looking glass: the convent (p.32) the house in England (Thornfield in Jane Eyre) (p.107) England as world “made of cardboard” (p.107) What is the significance of this metaphor? Why does Antoinette insist that she has lost her way to England?

11 Questions about the Ending What are the similarities between the fire scene in Part I and that in Antoinette’s dream in part III? What is the significance of the last paragraph of the novel?


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