Liberty And Justice In Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea

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Living in a world where the idea of "liberty and justice for all," is ingrained into our minds, it is hard to see the injustices that occur within the justice that is promoted. It has been over 150 years since the end of slavery, however the egotistical ideas that started slavery are still present within some people today. Although racism may no longer occur through slavery or segregation it is still found in stereotypes, police brutality, gentrification, racial profiling, etc. The Emancipation in the Caribbean physically freed slaves from being the property of others, but it created a racial hierarchy. In the novel Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, the protagonist, a native to the island but not a traditional Creole, struggles with fitting in …show more content…
Born in post-Emancipation Jamaica, a time where a lot of racial tension existed between society, Antoinette suffered from confusion of self-identity. Rhys illustrates Antoinette’s uncertainty of cultural identity when Antointette says, “So between you I often wonder who I am and where is my country and where do I belong and why was I even born at all” (Rhys 61). Here Antoinette is conflicted with her identity and her place in society because she feels that she is not good enough for the white Europeans and too good for the emancipated slaves. As a result, Antoinette is alienated by white Europeans and experiences hatred from the blacks. Her families past ownership of slaves becomes an outlet for racial revenge after the emancipation. In the text, Rhys shows the emotions of the ex-slaves after the burning of Coulibri when a black man says, “So black and white, they burn the same, eh?” (Rhys 26). Through the black man, Rhys is able to express the feelings of the black people during that time. Through the quote Rhys demonstrates how trouble doesn’t chose a skin tone and that in the end skin tones don’t determine peoples fate. Although black people were neglected in their daily lives for the color of their skin, skin tone didn’t matter because everyone was equal on the base of humanity and that was one thing that racial hierarchy couldn’t dictate. Aside from the hate that Antoinette experienced from the black people, Antoinette was neglected by white Europeans. The white Europeans could not fully understand Creole lifestyle and culture which resulted in stereotypes and considering those of mixed-race as inferior. Rhys uses Antoinette’s marriage to show the inevitable prejudice that lead to the failure of her marriage. Although Antoinette had more money than her husband he took the leading role in the marriage simply because he was

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