Portraits d’Une Femme: A Comparative Study of Jean Rhys’s Antoinette and Charlotte Brontë’s Bertha

Leila Hajjari, Hossein Aliakbari Harehdasht, Yasaman Mirzaie


Reading Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea after Brontë’s Jane Eyre, one does not sympathize with Jane anymore, nor does she really see Brontë’s Bertha as an imbruted partner for Mr. Rochester. This paper will take a comparative look at the way Antoinette Cosway is presented and treated in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea and at the way Bertha is presented in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. The study of some dominant themes in Rhys’s novel, themes such as racial discrimination, imperial oppression, place attachment, displacement and its influence on Antoinette, will work as technical elements of the comparison. In particular, the motif of Antoinette/Bertha’s madness in an imperialistic and patriarchal society will be analyzed in details. The scholars who are interested in post-colonialism will find this paper useful in that it discusses the role of the colonizer and the colonized with regard to the female characters of the putative novels.



Charlotte Brontë; Jane Eyre; Jean Rhys; Wide Sargasso Sea; Imperialism; Post-Colonialism; Madness

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/9703


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