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Big Read: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Zoe Morgan

Wed 18 October, 2023
11:00 am
- 12:00 pm BST

Free – £4.00
Queen Square
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How did the mad woman in the attic become the mad woman in the attic? Wide Sargasso Sea, written in 1966 but set in 1930s Jamaica, is a tale of dislocation and dispossession. Jean Rhys uses the contradictions and conflicts following the Emancipation Act to give added depth to her critique of oppressive colonial and patriarchal society.

A counter-narrative to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1837), Rhys overturns the ideal of the Romantic-hero-with-a-past to give voice and recognition to the previously silent and hidden ‘madwoman-in-the-attic’.

Background understanding of Jane Eyre is useful but not essential!

This session will be led by BRLSI member Zoe Morgan who will introduce the book and lead the discussion – here’s some things to think about whilst you’re reading:

1. What is the significance of the title?

2. Rhys uses many mirror images to reflect inner states of being. How effective is her use of the island’s tropical nature?

3. Why does the use of fire as a weapon seem to confirm Antoinette’s belief that although ‘justice’ can be written down on paper it is a word without meaning?

4. By the end of the novel, stripped of all identity, Antoinette has become a stranger to herself. How has this been possible?

5. How successful is Rhys’ interrogation of the ideal of the Romantic-hero-with-a-past?

Big Read is FREE for BRLSI members and just £4 for non-members – please register / pay via the BOOK TICKETS button or just turn up on the day for the 11am start.


Wed 18 October, 2023
11:00 am - 12:00 pm BST
Free – £4.00
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Live at Queen Square
BRLSI 16-18 Queen Square
Bath, Somerset BA1 2HN United Kingdom
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01225 312084

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