(Re)-visiting the madwoman: madness or (self)-identifying the individual

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University of Alabama Libraries

This thesis examines the narratives of Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea and their treatment of Antoinette Bertha Mason Rochester. Jane Eyre describes Bertha as the "lunatic, Mrs. Rochester" while the other novel gives an account of Antoinette Bertha Mason Rochester who is unable to be the person her husband expects. The idea of Bertha and Jane being combined as one genre, Woman, is absurd. Jane Eyre, a British woman who finds her way from Orphan, to Governess, to an independently wealthy woman who marries for love. Meanwhile, Bertha Rochester, a wealthy Jamaican white woman who has all her rights revoked and is labeled by her husband, as well as those who encounter her, insane. Though both these women are at the mercy of the patriarchal Victorian society in which they reside, one is able to overcome obstacles while the other, who was born within wealth and upper class society, is cast aside and rejected.

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English literature, Modern literature