Wide Sargasso Sea

To Fight or to Run: The Representation of Aggression Wide Sargasso Sea College

A vast area of the northern Atlantic Ocean houses a breed of seaweed that is addressed by the name sargassam. This portion of the northern Atlantic is known as the Sargasso Sea, notorious among passing sailors onto whose ships it is reputed to enmesh. Upon their meeting, friction is apparent between the surface of a ship’s hull and the skin of a strand of sargassam, as it is between the characters presented in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea. The complex post-colonial mentalities of West Indian populations, both native and foreign, and the underlying cultural differences between the two led to this occasional generation of both behavioral and emotional resentment and aggression from both groups. In Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys’s portrayal of the reactions that characters display to aggression from external sources is achieved through her constructive use of dialogue and introspection, in addition to specific behavioral attributes she assigns to her characters.

Introspection can be defined as the “the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes,” the use of which was a fundamental element of the narrative style Rhys adopted for Wide Sargasso Sea. It allowed for the direct depiction of the thoughts and...

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