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    Thinking about Wide Sargasso Sea: Madness, Memory, & Nar


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    Thinking about Wide Sargasso Sea: Madness, Memory, & Nar

    Post by Joumen on Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:41 am

    TOPIC: Madness, Memory, and Narration in WSS


    To start with, we are going to define important concepts that are mentioned in the introduction of the book:
    WSS is described as “ a highly dramatic story, exotic, psychological, feminine, and mysterious.” It takes Jane Eyre as its inspiration. It is a kind of “rewriting” classical texts and this is part of what we call “writing back”.
    Exotic: adj, unusual and often exciting because of coming(or seeming to come) from a distant, especiall tropical country.
    Psychological: adj, relating to the human mind and feelings. Psychology is the study of the way the human mind works and how it influences behaviour, or the influence of a particular person’s character on their behaviour.
    Inspiration: someone or something that gives you ideas for doing something/ an example which people admire.
    Writing back: I will use the intoduction itself to define it, writing-back is “filling in the gaps in the story(…) changing how we see the classic novel(…) to see the story of Jane Eyre in a context larger than that of England in the nineteenth century.”
    There is an other important concept in the novel that of “madness”.
    According to the CED, it is the state of being mentally ill, or unable to behave in a reasonable way.
    Voltaire says that madness is “to have erroneous perceptions and to reason correctly from them” and that it is “to think of too many things in succession too fast, or of one thing too exclusively”. Thus, he associated “madness” with other terms, that one may find as contradictive, like “reason” and “think”.
    Likewise, in his book The Politics of Experience, R.D. Laing writes that madness is “potential liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death”.
    Nietzsche says, “ there is always some reason in madness”.
    Of course,these definitions may “chock” us as they give an unexpected link between madness and reason and freedom. This eventuaaly lead us to question the state of the character, Antoinette,described as a mad:


    Is she mad in the sense that she is mentally ill? Or is there “some reason in (her) madness?
    Why is she mad? Or rather why is she thought to be mad? Is it because she is a woman? A creole? A colonizer? Or is it because of all this?
    In other words, is she mad because she is the “other” and the “different”?
    Is she guilty or innocent? What kind of relationship between her madness, her memory, and her act of narration?Does her “madness” make her without mind and memory?
    Does her madness lead her to liberation or enslavement? Can we consider her narrating act as a liberation? Is she “mad” because she narrates?
    What is the role of memory in narration?
    Does her memory lead to her act of narrating? or does her narration lead her to memory?


    Madness is otherness.
    Narration is madness.

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