based upon themes in the novel
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Wide Sargasso Sea is an end-of-empire text that charts the downfall of English colonialism in the Caribbean, a process that began with the abolition of slavery. By moving the timeframe of the story to just after the passage of the Emancipation Acts, Rhys emphasizes this aspect of her novella. Much of the descriptive detail in the work serves to underscore this theme; for example, Coulibri Estate has fallen into a state of utter disarray and Antoinette says that she "did not remember the place when it was prosperous." Throughout the work we see the English struggling to maintain their tenuous grasp over the island while simultaneously grappling with the reality that this domain is very different from Europe. Rochester's intense need to control Antoinette represents the British fight to maintain economic and legal control over an area they considered their territory. Please see the Grade-Saver site for this excerpt. The source-link is below.