This will be further enhanced by the use of the American lesbian feminist, poet and artic Adrienne Rich and her essay When we Dead Awaken: Writing as Revision’. Throughout the exploration of Wide Cargos Sea, historical context and information will be given to portray the reaction and analysis of the colonial situation, in light of Rays’ opinions as a white Creole. The observational and critical analysis of cultural legacy by Rays, leads to Wide Cargos Sea fitting under the heading of post colonialism . Wide Cargos Sea Is a prequel to Jane Ere by Charlotte Bronze.
It tells an alternative tale of the secret, first wife of Edward Rochester, Bertha Mason, alias Antoinette Cocoas. Rays’ novel is set on the Caribbean island of Dominica and addresses many issues that were current at the time of writing, as well as issues of society in the temporal placement of the book in 1839. Rays constructs a thought provoking deconstruction of Jane Ere and uses many of her own experiences as a white Creole woman, to portray the feelings of thoughts of the white Creole character Antoinette Cocoas, through her narration.
What Is unusual about the novel is that Rochester, who remains nameless in the text also, has a narrative voice, which is heard and observed in the second trimester of the three part novel. By vocalist Rochester it immediately “controverts Mr.. Rochester’s narrative to Jane in the original novel – both as to his character and to what really happened and by the increasingly fragmented nature of his narrative, raises the question as to who Is In fact the mad one” (Speak: 1985,262-78).
A brief narrative contribution Is also given by Grace Poole, who Is the servant in the book Jane Ere, but ultimately Antoinette Jailer. The trilogy of parts is clearly defined with the first segment of the book being narrated as a bloodcurdling Antoinette childhood. The second part clearly identifies that her reggae to the nameless Rochester is failing. The final trimester of the book is more illusive and leads the reader to surmise what might and might not happen.
Not only does Rays’ novel address the heartache of a disastrous marriage, wealth the imposing of a patriarchal society, but she also addresses Issues from the colonized Individual’s perspective of England and its cultural impact and legacy. Rays has chosen to move the temporal placement of Jane Ere to the mid nineteenth century; this enables Rays to use her literary license to place Wide Cargos Sea just after the emancipation act of 1834, which allows Rays to utilities mom of the more volatile and social issues of identity and culture.
This is further enhanced when exampling the quote of Williams In Woodsman’s essay Writing back’ en states Tanat In ten mid Victorian fiction: “two popular Torts AT analogical novel Ana In ten context AT the historical romance, which is virtually dominant, particularly when it is a historical romance associated with war; and the consciously exotic, itself often significantly associated with the new epoch of colonization … A place, a setting of a colorful kind is there, but the historical movement, the historical tension within the eroded, is subordinate to the sense of historical spectacle.
The same is true of the exotic. It is not needless to say, the story of the colonial wars; it is the adventure story extracted from the whole story (Williams: 2006, 494). This statement is saying that books, such as Jane Ere only address the issues that elaborate the story. They speak of the glorious colors of plants and the exotic and of their own experience of colonization and of the people in the colonies, which in turn gives the audience a biased viewpoint.
Cane’s viewpoint of Antoinette, alias Bertha is of an animal something ‘other’ than human “whether it was beast or unman being, one could not, at first tell: it groveled, seemingly on all fours; it snatched and growled like some strange wild animal” (Bronze: 1994, 291). Rays however, conceptualizes her novel and is more truthful of the historical facts of the colonization that was taking place. This becomes evident when Antoinette informs the reader of the decay of the once prosperous estate of Collier, “all Collier Estate had gone wild like the garden, gone to bush. No more slavery’ 1(5).
The estate had been owned by Antoinette deceased father. Mr.. Cocoas had been promiscuous with his slaves, who he considered to be his property. As a result Antoinette was sister to many of the slaves on the estate and her mother Annette, welcomed them into her house. “l knew who he was; his name was Sands, Alexander Sways son. Once I would have said ‘my cousin Sands’ but Mr.. Mason’s lectures had made me shy about my colored relatives” (27). The mainly Dutch imported African slaves helped with the lucrative sugar production of the colonial Caribbean islands and they were once the basis of their economy.
This however, changes on the death of her father and the arrival of the colonizers. In Wide Cargos Sea the predominant colonizers are Bronze’s Mason and Rochester. Mason marries Annette and the sibling interaction is stopped. Despite the Emancipation act, the black people of the islands were not really free. The British Government forced the slaves to stay with the former masters and accept any pay that their masters chose to give them or be imprisoned. This resulted in high tension amongst the slaves, the former Creole masters and the colonizers.
The British were instigating a volatile gap in the culture they had invaded as they lingered in the forthcoming compensation promised to both master and slave. Chew Guava comments on colonization and states that it “is nothing less than the unequal exchange between countries producing raw materials ad industrial countries which dominate markets and impose false Justice on an inequitable exchange of values” (Guava: 1964, 6). The white Creole mastery of the Caribbean becomes misplaced within the newly colonized islands. The Cocoas family, are isolated at Collier, which is situated some distance away from Spanish Town.
The isolation progresses and no longer Just refers to the spatial; their social position NAS also change Ana teeny Decode Insular, as a result AT entreat Trot ten lacks for the slavery imposed upon them and the wariness of the white British colonizers. They began to loose their prominent social identity under the heading of White Creole’. The word ‘Creole’ is believed to originate from the Portuguese word ‘Curious’, which literally meant ‘slave born in a master’s household’. But as the social aspects of Caribbean life changed, so did the meaning. White Creole now referred to “a descendant of any European settler” (Caver & Bush 2010, 1).
Their positions had been changed from the domination of substantial wealth to the poor misplaced caste. Fidel Castro comments “that the whole problem of coexistence among peoples was reduced to the undue appropriation of another’s wealth” (Guava: 1964, 4). Authors such as Rays who want to show an alternative story from a personal point of view are partaking in what Adrienne Rich calls “Re-vision – – the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering old texts from a new critical direction – – is for women more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival” (Rich: 2009,2).
This ultimately means that until the audience has the story from alternative respective. Thus showing that without another viewpoint then a reader cannot view the whole picture of the original work, which in this case is Bertha Mason in Jane Ere. Rich continues by stating, “until we can understand the assumptions in which we are drenched we cannot know ourselves. And this drive for self knowledge, for women is more than a search for identity: it is part of our refusal of the self destructiveness of male dominated society’ (Rich 2009, 2).
Antoinette becomes a third person in the text, occupying a social position between the binary opposition of aster and slave, in a less personal statement this can be viewed of the white creoles being placed in a position between the English sources and the African resources out of which the colonial world is produced. Antoinette tries to explain her lack of identity to her husband, Rochester and says: [I]t was a song about a white cockroach. That’s me. That’s what they call all of us who were here before their own people in Africa sold them to the slave traders.
And Vive heard English women call us white naggers. So between you I often wonder who I am and where is my country and where do I belong and why was I ever born at all. Rays: 2001, 63). It is at this point that Antoinette begins to question the self as ‘I’ the individual and begins to view herself as ‘other’ than human. Mace suggests that the “relationship with the other is always conflict ridden and antagonistic as it is based upon a dialect in which the only possibilities are being dominated or being dominant” ((Mace, 2001 , 285).
Due to Rays’ temporal setting of the book Antoinette is fighting a loosing battle for dominance and she succumbs to the social beliefs of the male patriarchal colonizer Rochester. The loss of identity and her oscillating position in society instigated Antoinette Journey into insanity. This sense of self is further confused by her new husband, who insists on calling his wife ‘Bertha’. This change of name further distresses Antoinette who can be quoted in saying “Bertha is not my name.
You are trying to make me into someone else, calling me by another name” (Rays: ) I Nils renaming AT Nils Antoinette can also De seen as a way AT removing ten insanity of her mother Annette. There names are very similar and it could be suggested that Rochester was of the Victorian belief that madness was in fact hereditary “the madness that is in her, and all these white Creoles” (58). If the mother is mad then the daughter is sure to follow. This can be further evidenced in Jane Ere. Rochester tries to explain to Jane, “Bertha Mason is mad; and she came from a mad family; idiots and maniacs through three generations!
Her mother was Creole, was both a madwoman and a drunkard! ” (Bronze: 1994, 290). This affiliation of names is the similarity of madness and her mother’s promiscuity. These assumptions of white colonizers toward the white creoles and the blacks were common of the time. They also referred to the black as them’ as though they were something other than human. This can be seen in a conversation between Rochester and Antoinette: “away do you hug and kiss Christopher? I’d say, ‘l couldn’t’ Why not? ‘l wouldn’t hug and kiss them, I’d say, ‘l couldn’t. ” (Rays: 2001, 55).
We can see this again in Jane Ere when she refers to Bertha as “it was covered with clothing, and a quantity of dark, grizzled hair, wild as a mane hid her face (Bronze: 1994, 291). This referral of the ‘other’ is widely used in the genre of post-colonialism and refers to “the relationship between subject and a person or a thing defined or constituted as a non self that is different or other” (Mace,2001 , 285). He also refers to Antoinette as a child “If she was a child then she was not a stupid one but an obstinate one” (Rays: 2001, 56). This non placement of self is a direct result of the English view point of others.
Edward Said in his interview summarizes by asking the question of how do we, in western culture view people of a different culture. We only have our own viewpoint and we stereotype people. This is certainly the case of Rochester and Mason and Said speaks of his “thought stopping fury that so imprison us in labels and antagonistic debate whose goal is a belligerent collective identity rather than understanding and intellectual exchange” (Said: 2003, xvii). This lack of communication and understanding between cultures is therefore the cause of the social unrest between ethnic communities.
The disparity of Rays, as the author has very little to do with her understanding of her own culture but rather other people’s assumptions of it and how it made her feel. Peter Widows comments that re- visionary text is commonly associated with post colonialism, this in turn allows a texts such as Rays’ Wide Cargos Sea to “become a two-way correspondence in which the recipient (Rays) answers or replies to” (Widows: 2006,501). Meaning that by re- visiting Jane Ere and giving a voice to Antoinette, Bertha Mason as a Creole is given the chance to explain her demise into the realms of dominated insanity.
Instead by writing this way and highlighting the loss of cultural and individual identity “it brought into view the latent racism … [and] it exposed the unique difficulties experienced by a young Creole women in post slavery Caribbean, combined with her total powerlessness in the face of patriarchal power at the time”(Spinal: 1985,262 – It can therefore be suggested that by reading Wide Cargos Sea ensures that objectivity becomes a natural process within audience, especially if Jane Ere is read and analyses simultaneously.
This then according to Widows enables the reader “to see parallels and contrasts, continuities and discontinuities, between the period AT ten Orlando texts production Ana Tanat AT ten more modern work (Williamson: 2 504). In conclusion, by writing in this way it can be suggested that Rays’, Wide Cargos Sea is much more that an explanation of how the mad Bertha Mason reached the attic of Threefold Hall. It proves to be a critique of what is implicitly contradictory in the colonial initiative.
It demonstrates how exotic Caribbean islands lured the British with its promise of unusual eroticism and a different culture and ended up being subordinate to the white colonizer and their programmer to civilize the savages. Rochester, shows how the Victorian gentleman of the day and his respectability and his suppressed feelings were something to be kept at all cost in fear of turning native, This in turn demonstrates that the hostility on the island is in fact instigated by the colonizers and their strict patriarchal and Victorian culture and not by the inhabitants that were already on the island.