Mixtape: Standing Up For This Wide Worthless Mad World
The novel “Wide Sargasso Sea” By Jean Rhys
Summary of Wide Sargasso Sea
The novel Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys begins with a young Antoinette living in Jamaica. Antoinette is the white daughter of an ex-slave owner whose character resembles Bertha from Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre. Bertha is a very complex character who over time is seen to go mad and cause terror. Antoinette’s father passed away from excessive drinking around the time of the Emancipation Act of 1833. This act offered freedom to all the slaves in the British empire. Antoinette spends most of her time in isolation as she struggles to build a healthy relationship with her mother, Annette, who shows signs of madness and melancholy towards her daughter. One day Annette is requested to Spanish town, a sophisticated metropolis. An English man named Mr. Mason is a part of the metropolis. After a short period of meeting each other, Mr. Mason asks Annette’s hand in marriage.
Over time Mr. Mason repaired an estate and purchased servants. As a result, riots began outside the house as they carry torches with them. A fire started and Antoinette’s brother, Pierre, was badly hurt. All the events that occurred that night left Antoinette ill for six weeks. Antoinette’s brother has died, and Annette’s madness develops over the years. Part two of the novel presents Antoinette married to an Englishman whose name is unknown. The narrative is presented through her husbands’ perspective. This marriage was established through the desperation for money. During their honeymoon, Antoinette’s husband begins to feel uncomfortable around her and the servants. One of the servants is named Christophine, who lived with Antoinette for many years.
Antoinette begins to sense that her husband hates her, so she asked Christophine for a love potion. Later that night Antoinette and her husband have a passionate conversation. Antoinette’s husband wakes the next morning and believes to have been poisoned so he sleeps with a servant girl. Her husband gave her the name “Bertha” which Antoinette despises. In part three of the novel, Antoinette is in England locked away in a room in a house that her husband owns under the supervision of servants. She has no sense of time or place and begins to have a reoccurring dream. The novel ends with this dream becoming a reality.
Themes and Issues in the novel
One of the many themes throughout this novel is the context of slavery. The tension between the whites and blacks is largely present. This is a constant battle for Antoinette and her mother as they live in a black community. Among the standardization of slavery, the feeling of being trapped is also present throughout the novel. Annette feels trapped in Coulibri Estate. In contrast, Antoinette also feels trapped in her relationship with her husband. Antoinette is dependent on her husband and craves his love. The main theme that developed throughout the novel is madness. Through the first part of the novel, Annette’s madness is progressively evident. Once her son passed her insanity was more severe. Throughout the second and third parts of the novel, Antoinette also experiences similar traits as the burden of craving love from her husband becomes difficult.
Song #1 of Mixtape: “Mad World” Covered By Demi Lovato
The song “Mad World” covered by Demi Lovato demonstrates an atmosphere where a young and depressed individual feels out of place in the world. The song is originally by the band Tears for Fears. The cover presented establishes a female perspective that views an appropriate approach as the novel’s main character is a female. The perception of “Mad World” connects well with the novel presenting the same literary element. One of the lyrics of this song states “And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad. The dreams in which I’m dying, are the best I’ve ever had”. The subject of death is connected well with Antoinette in which Rhys states “But at night how different even her voice was changed always this talk of death” (Rhys, 76). Here Antoinette’s husband mentions Antoinette’s obsession with death. However, she speaks of it in a manner where she is not afraid of dying. Rhys also states, “There is madness in that family” (Rhys, 86). This quote comes from a letter that was written to Antoinette’s husband from Daniel Cosway. This letter was written to warn Antoinette’s husband of the family’s insanity. After this letter was read Antoinette’s husband notices signs of Antoinette’s insanity. This song connects well with the family that is mentioned as Antoinette and her mother feel out of place in the world. As a result, their insanity becomes a key development throughout the novel.
Song #2 of Mixtape: “Wide Sargasso Sea” By Stevie Nicks
The song “Wide Sargasso Sea” by Stevie Nicks summarizes in a romantic way of Antoinette’s relationship with her husband. Throughout the song, it explores the complex dynamic Antoinette has with her husband and the struggles that she endures. The two were strangers when they married and as a result, it became difficult for them to create a proper marriage. One of the lines in the song explores the context between the two as strangers “They did not know each other; they did not trust”. In the novel Antoinette’s husband also makes this precise stating “I did not love her I was thirsty for her but that is not love. I felt very little tenderness for her she was a stranger to me a stranger who did not think or feel as I did” (Rhys, 93). This song connects well with the estranged relationship Antoinette has with her husband as they try to get to know each other. However, circumstances make this process difficult as Antoinette’s madness is present. At the end of the song, it presents the girl leaving to burn the man’s house down. At the end of the novel, this is something that is illustrated Antoinette will do as she leaves her bedroom with a candle in hand and the reoccurring dream burning the house is remembered.
Song #3 of Mixtape: “Worthless” By Eli
The song “Worthless” by Eli demonstrates the first-person perspective of an individual feeling worthless in the world. This song connects well with the relationship Antoinette has with her mother. Antoinette struggles to receive love from her mother and she feels unwanted by her. Rhys states “But I am here, I am here, I said, and she said, ‘ No ’, quietly. Then ‘ No no no ’ very loudly and flung me from her” (Rhys, 44). Here Antoinette goes to see her mother for the first time after six weeks of being ill. Pierre, Antoinette’s brother, has died and her mother did not want to see her. The song also states “I’m always so alone. Even when surrounded. By people that I know”. Antoinette feels alone and unwanted by the people she cares most about.
Song #4 of Mixtape: “Stand Up” By Cynthia Erivo
The song “Stand Up” by Cynthia Erivo is an activist song demonstrating themes of hope, strength, and overcoming obstacles. Many of these themes are established in the novel as Antoinette demonstrates these aspects. Rhys states “I can fight with this if the worse comes to the worst. I can fight to the end..” (Rhys, 10). Here Antoinette is presented holding a piece of wood with nails at the end. She uses this to protect herself as she feels unsafe where she lives. In the song, the lyrics state “And I’ll fight with the strength that I got until I die”. The expression of strength is profoundly expressed throughout this song as well as the need to leave an unwelcomed place. This is one of the many aspects presented in the novel as Antoinette and her mother feel unwelcomed. Antoinette’s husband also feels unwelcomed as Rhys states, “I feel very much a stranger here. I said. I feel that this place is my enemy and on your side” (Rhys, 129). Antoinette’s husband speaks to Antoinette of his true feelings within their marriage and how he feels living with her.