Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea. Norton Critical Ediction. NY: Norton, 1999. The Daughter’s Entrance into the Symbolic Order: Split Identities and Mirror Images. Outline. General Introduction: Jean Rhys & Wide Sargasso Sea :
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Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea
Norton Critical Ediction. NY: Norton, 1999.
The Daughter’s Entrance into the Symbolic Order: Split Identities and Mirror Images
"Do you consider yourself aWest Indian?"
She shrugged. "It was such a long time ago when I left."
"So you don't think of yourself as a West Indian writer?"
Again she shrugged, but said nothing.
"What aboutEnglish? Do you consider yourself an English writer?"
"No! I'm not, I'm not! I'm not even English."
"What about aFrenchwriter?" I asked.
Again she shrugged and said nothing.
"You have no desire to go back to Dominica?" "Sometimes," she said.
Part III: “Great House” England
I. What are the subject positions available in this society?
2. What roles do the parents (Annette, Mr. Mason, Christophine) play in this story?
3. How does Antoinette respond to her environment at different stages—
4. What do the symbols of mirror, garden and parrot means?
Pre-Emancipation: racial and sexual exploitation. (e.g. Daniel)
Negative: Myra – hell (84-85); animal howling (p. 86), parrot killed = bad luck 87;
Positive: At the final confrontation, some women start to cry. 88.
Annette: 1) multiple alienations of the creole
—from the white people in the Spanish town because she is a Creole from Martinique and poor;
-- from the blacks (“they”) because she is former slave-owner and poor
-- from the FOB such as Mr. Mason (who cannot understand her sense of insecurity)
Annette: -- 2) As a woman –
Antoinette (solitary life) Antoinette (planned and hoped) p. 10
-- Marooned, she expects her son to be her phallic symbol 77
-- borrow a horse from the new Lutrelles gay and a good dancer
Lack of position/identity
Antoinette’s loss of motherly love
Christophine: helpful but fearful
A. Fixation in the Imaginary Order:
B. In Need of but Split among Different Ego Ideals (object a) –
C. Sense of Rejection by Both Societies
D. After the mother’s re-marriage, Antoinette tries—without success--to find her position in the Symbolic Order
Her childhood as a creole girl neglected by her mother, and not protected by her father(s)
Insecure; in lack of a firm sense of identity; (lack of love, fear of others’ and society’s criticism, feeling excluded.)
[Later—convent as a temporary refuge with no real education]