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  • Essay Quotation: Shutting up the Subaltern by Carine M. Mardorossian
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“ Thus, Wide Sargasso Sea’s double narrative structure- which only gives us access to the Black Creole voices and actions through the consciousness of the two major narrators-attests not to Rhys’s imperialism but to her insight into the workings of the ideological system and its categories of representation.” Page 1072

Madorossian's essay on Wide Sargasso Sea deals with the issues of race and gender in the text, with an emphasis on how Rhys uses narration to discuss race and gender. Essentially, this quote is explaining that Rhys’s decision to focalize the narration only through white characters is not done to try to take away the voice of the black characters, but rather to emphasize the lack of representation these people experienced in reality. This quote argues that in Rhys’s point of view, to focalize narration through the recently emancipated citizens of the island would be appropriating their culture. Her style of narration is a much better representative of the actual race relations of the island. The passage on page 25 of the text is a prime example of the racial tension on the island where Antoinette grew up. The reader has an understanding of the event through the mindset of Antoinette, even though the fire was set by the black Creole’s and most of the action of the scene was initiated by them. This divide in narration that Mardorossian discusses emphasizes the idea of “otherness” each racial group experienced. 

 

Mardorossian, Carine M. "Shutting Up the Subaltern: Silences, Stereotypes, and Double-Entendre in Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea." Callaloo (1999): 1072. Jstor. Web. 8 Nov. 2014.

 

 

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