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Wide Sargasso Sea Historical Context

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Rhys wrote Wide Sargasso Sea between 1945 and 1966. Critic Elizabeth Nunez-Harrell writes in "The Paradoxes of Belonging: The White West Indian Woman in Fiction," that the novel is a "response to the nationalistic mood in [the West Indies] of the late 1950s and 1960s." During this time period Jamaica became independent of Britain (in 1962). Dominica, the country of Rhys's birth and the setting for Part II, did not become independent until 1978. In these times of change, which also saw a large influx of West Indian immigrants into England, the relations between whites and blacks were often tense, erupting sometimes into violence. Not addressing these questions directly, Rhys chose to set her novel between 1839 and 1845. Slavery had ended in the British colonies in 1833, so these years were also ones of change.

In deciding to tell the "true story" of Bertha Mason, the Creole madwoman in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Rhys...

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This section contains 839 words
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Literature of Developing Nations for Students
Wide Sargasso Sea from Literature of Developing Nations for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.