Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

English

First Advisor

Janice Ho

Second Advisor

Karen Jacobs

Third Advisor

Ramesh Mallipeddi

Fourth Advisor

Kieran Murphy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Abstract

In Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) and Myriam Warner-Vieyra’s Juletane (1982), two female protagonists battle with demons that haunt their psyche. As Antoinette and Juletane are forced to define their social and cultural identity, they become increasingly disassociated from the world. Rhys and Warner-Vieyra take conventions of female madness from earlier representations in the century and transpose them to a postcolonial context. Although the two protagonists embody vastly different experiences, they mirror each other’s ultimate refusal to be confined by stereotypical racial and gendered representations of the past. Antoinette and Juletane embody many of the tropes associated with female madness such as melancholia, the attic, and violence in the home, but they also expand upon and complicate these typical representations. They demonstrate how intersecting factors of identity determine the course that madness takes, and how female madness is even more complex in a postcolonial context.

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