Mr Rochester Antoinettes young husband narrates more than a third of the novel

Mr rochester antoinettes young husband narrates more

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Mr. Rochester, Antoinette's young husband, narrates more than a third of the novel, telling, in his own words, the story of Antoinette's mental downfall. His arrival in Jamaica and his arranged marriage to Antoinette is prefigured in the first part of the novel by the appearance of Mr. Mason, another English aristocrat seeking his fortune through a Creole heiress. However, unlike Mr. Mason, Rochester remains nameless throughout the novel, referred to only as "that man" or "my husband." In a novel in which naming is so important, Rochester's anonymity underscores the implied authority of his account. He is the nameless creator and, as a white man, his authority and privilege allow him to confer identity on others. For instance, he decides to rename his wife, calling her "Bertha" in an attempt to distance her from her lunatic mother, whose full name was Antoinette. Later, he takes away Antoinette's voice along with her name, refusing to listen to her side of the story. As he continues to fragment her identity, he creates the new name of "Marionetta," a cruel joke that reflects Antoinette's doll-like pliability. He ultimately refashions Antoinette into a raving madwoman and treats her as a ghost. Having totally rejected his Creole wife and her native customs, Rochester exaggerates his own cool, logical, and distinctly English rationale; he asserts his total English control over the Caribbean landscape and people. Rochester's intense need to control Antoinette represents the British fight to maintain economic and legal control over an area they considered their territory. This general subjection to those of higher rank and subjection of women to male authority is an important theme in both Charlotte Brontë's nineteenth-century novel and Jean Rhys’s twentieth-century revision. Like Brontë, Rhys illustrates the painfully limited role of women in Victorian society. Antoinette, for example, is unable to free herself from Rochester's brutality because she has no financial independence; when she married him all of the money in her dowry was given to him without condition or stipulation. Rochester represents the ultimate in patriarchal tyrants, but other male characters in the novella also display deep-seated feelings of misogyny, including Mr. Mason. It is shown that men deprive
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