How is patriarchy shown in Wide Sargasso Sea?
First we must recognize the meaning of the word patriarchy and how it works. As an anthropological definition of patriarchy, we understand that it is the idea that men tend to dominate in society through their positions of power; we know the majority of higher economic, political,industrial,financial,religious and social positions are governed by men.
The subjection of women to male authority is an important theme in both Charlotte Bronte’s nineteenth century novel and Jean Rhy’s twentieth century piece of work. They have both illustrated the painfully limited role of women in the Victorian society. In Wide Sargasso Sea, the first sign of patriarchy shown is when Antoinette is being taken into a garden by a man. She quotes that her dress is “white and beautiful” and how she wishes to not get it “soiled”. The purity that the colour “white” holds is something Antoinette repeats. Having her wish for her dress to not get dirty is an example of the dominance taking over in her dreams as well. Even though it’s all a dream, she should have some power in controlling what happens yet she is unable to. This could essentially be foreshadowing her future as well; there is female suppression and the idea of inevitable helplessness in a marriage. The “dirty” symbolizes a male figure, she does not want her “dress” to be stained by a man but this is also saying that she does not want herself to be stained by a man. The dress could be a representation of Antoinette because the dress is constantly lifted by the male figure. It’s an example of the female role and how a lot is done to her, yet she is incapable of reacting back. Another example of patriarchy is mentioned when Antoinette explains how she is being taken into an “enclosed garden”. This is very significant idea that is embroidered throughout Rhy’s writing because we learn that Antoinette will later be unable to free herself from Rochester’s brutality. The “enclosed” creates a very claustrophobic atmosphere for the reader as well as Antoinette. We know from Jane Eyre and the ending of Wide Sargasso Sea, that Antoinette is renamed Bertha and thrown into Rochester’s attic. Her identity is stripped away from her; many of the women in...