Hiding in Plain Sight : A Gynocritical Reading of Rochester’s Narrative in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea

University essay from Högskolan i Gävle/Avdelningen för humaniora

Abstract: This essay is the result of a close-reading of the male protagonist’s narrative in Jean Rhys’s novel Wide Sargasso Sea (1966). His narrative was examined through an interpretive lens layered with a combination of several critical onsets that form the pillars of Elaine Showalter’s theory of a metaphysical female crescent outside of male consciousness. With a combination of gynocriticism, postcolonial feminism, cultural theory and psychoanalysis, this essay charted the inner expedition of the male protagonist as he travels to the Caribbean and marries his new wife. The findings showed how his inner journey takes him to the borderlands of his consciousness and language. On the other side of the border is the female crescent, the wild zone, where women and wilderness taunt him and hide from him in plain sight. Stretching himself to the limits of his conscious mind, the male protagonist Rochester loses his grip on reality and gets overwhelmed by feelings of fear and anger.

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