Feminization, construction and re-construction of madness: intertextuality between Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea
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Even though men didsuffer from mental illness theirs was considered a disease that required to be cured while madness or deviant behavior in women was considered something demonized, wicked and dangerous. The aim of my dissertation is to critically examine Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, focusing on the depiction of madness as form of revolt against the patriarchal oppression, with particular emphasis on the textual construction of female madness in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and re-construction of it by the Jean Rhys in Wide Sargasso Sea. In the introduction, I will offer a brief history about madness, where female madness shall be emphasized; in the following chapters I shall look closely into the novels, exploring the depiction of madness in both the novels, focusing on the protagonist, whose madness is not hereditary, rather constructed and imposed upon her. I therefore argue, that the protagonist, nonetheless, is labeled as a stereotypical madwoman, who is supposedly wild and dangerous as a result of being cast aside by her husband who she was deeply in love with. In my concluding chapters I shall highlight how the author bends language in order to re-construct the image, which was previously established in Jane Eyreregarding the madwoman, the use of metaphors for madness, vocabularies and the storyline, where the oppressed is allowed to narrate the story and in doing so she provides a voice for those marginalized and neglected women labeled insane.