Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys makes great use of subconscious dream. Rhys writes that Antoinette’s dreams are intertwined with reality, making the story more difficult for the reader to follow. Antoinette struggles with her emotions, not fully understanding what is real or just a dream. Antoinette’s reoccurring dream, which becomes increasingly decipherable, manifests from her inability to express her emotions. Each dreams is a crucial moment from her life; she struggles to maintain her sanity, which later causes her to become confused in her dreams.
I’m focusing the three main significant dreams that Antoinette had throughout the novel. The first dream that Antoinette’s had when she was only a child this would characterize Antoinette’s for the plot of Wide Sargasso Sea. Her first dream “I dreamed that I was walking in the forest. Not alone. Someone who hated me was with me, out of sight. I could hear heavy footsteps coming closer and though I struggled and screamed I could not move. I woke crying” (16). Antoinette’s first dream describes her new fear, “Someone who hated me” (16). Antoinette’s cannot identify who hated her, but felt the presence of someone was also watching her.
Rhys also displays the first dream that Antoinette’s heard a “heavy footprints” her reaction toward her environment were difficult for her to express her feelings and felt scared. Antoinette’s doesn’t run away in her dream instead she “struggled and Screams” (16). Antoinette’s doesn’t really fully understand where she was and confuse why this dream occurred. She rarely discusses her feelings with her mother or her nurse. Antoinette’s struggles with relationships with people she knows, aware that people dislike her as a person. When Antoinette’s went to convent school in Spanish town.
Antoinette’s had a second dream is much darker than her first dream. She describes it to a nun in the convent: “It is still night and I am walking towards the forest. I am wearing a long dress and thin slippers so I walk with difficulty, following the man who is with me and holding up my skirt of my dress. It is white and beautiful and I don’t wish to get it soiled. I follow him, sick with fear, but I make no effort to save myself; if anyone were to try to save me, I would refuse. This must happen. Now we have reached the forest. We are under the tall dark trees and there is now wind.
Here? He turns and looks at me, his face black with hatred, and when I see this I begin to cry” (35-37). Antoinette’s second dream similar to her first dream when she was a child. The second dream has more vivid imagery stating that she was wearing “a long dress and slippers” giving Antoinette’s her sense of her surroundings then her previous dream (35). Antoinette’s didn’t want to “soil” a metaphor that resembles Antoinette’s as a child. Antoinette’s is aware of her world surroundings, yet she still confuses where she was and whom she was with.
Still frighten “I follow him, sick with fear” and “his face is black with hatred” (37). Antoinette’s displays how unsure about herself, allowing someone to guide her. Noticing that Antoinette’s becomes more submissive during her second dream. Connecting Antoinette’s subconscious dreams I’m using “I Don’t Dream about It Any More: The textual Unconscious in Jean Rhys “Wide Sargasso Sea” McClure Smith argues “It is by now a critical commonplace that Rhys emphasizes the interaction of conscious and unconscious processes in the act of narration of Wide Sargasso Sea.
Because the central narrator Antoinette’s, is an inveterate dreamer whose narrative is structured by a series of foreboding dreams, the text inevitably assumes a double structure of sorts a manifest and latent contend if you will” (117). Describing her “forbidding dreams” would bring disaster for Antoinette’s. Her “unconscious” were likely to be her memories is disconnected from reality. Antoinette’s becomes lifeless and does not understand her surroundings.
Antoinette’s thinks that she inside her dream, soon she disconnects herself from the world. The second article I will be discussing “England: Dream and Nightmare”, Judith Raiskin discusses how Antoinette’s was curious about England, later soon would lead her to her own madness. Raiskin argues “Antoinette’s finds that her place of escape is also her place of imprisonment; her dream of an England of snow, cornfield and millers daughter progressively becomes her dream of violence and destruction.
Each time Antoinette’s had her dream, England becomes more menacing and she becomes more active” this “dream” is never referred to as her “nightmare” Wide Sargasso Sea the violence visited upon the English institution (Thornfield hall) and English literature (Jane Eyre) is the dream of the awakened and furious colonized figure” (254-55). Antoinette’s wanted to escape from her nightmare when she was living in Spanish Town. Antoinette’s heard stories how England has “snow, cornfield and miller daughter” (254-55).
Unaware that her husband took her away from her home town and travel to England. The feeling how “England become more menacing and she becomes more active” her personality changes dramatically, causing her not fully understand her own surroundings (254-255). Raiskin’s argues, “For Antoinette’s, the colonial, England is a troubling double image the exotic yet comforting England she learns about it in school and identifies with as a white person and a place where her dream of violence, one she simultaneously struggles to suppress and to discover, will be enacted” (254).
Antoinette’s discovers that England isn’t the place she thought it would be. Antoinette’s struggles to “suppress and to discover, will be enacted” this will lead to her final dream was being suppressed by mixing her dreams into reality. Realizing that England wasn’t the perfect place, she immediately felt trapped, which causes her dreams to be more “violence” causing her emotions become stronger than usual. Antoinette’s third dreams broke the barrier between dreams and reality. She mixes both Coulibri and her dreams into one, making both unrecognizable for her to comprehend.
Antoinette’s memories of Coulibri faded into her dreams, causes her to feel that her dreams were all a nightmare. Raiskin article recalls how “her dreams of violence and destruction” causing Antoinette’s suffering from madness. Antoinette’s doesn’t recall how she travels to England; mostly due to confusion when she recalls certain memories from her past. As Antoinette recalls the red dress on the floor, “But I looked at the dress on the floor and it was as if the fire had spread across the room. It was beautiful and it reminded me of something I must do” (110-11).
Antoinette’s mentions that she has “something I must do” explain that she has to do something; this lead us to believe this was a dream. Antoinette’s confuses her dream events and actual events to recall her memories. Antoinette’s believes that she was at her aunt Cora house, later she saw candles at Thornfield unclear what if this was a dream or a memory for the reader. “I saw the sunlight coming through the window, the tree outside and the shadows of the leaves on the floor, but I saw the wax candles too and I hated them” (111).
Antoinette’s decided to burn the curtains “I saw the wax candles too and I hated them” at Thornfield Antoinette’s describes this scene as a dream. She felt decide to leave the attic at Thornfield and she senses “but it seemed to me that someone was following me”, this recalls her first dream she had when someone was following her and she felt unpleasant (111). Antoinette’s recalled her third dream as a memory “I saw the grandfather clock and aunt Cora patchwork all colours. I saw the orchids and the stephanotis and jasmine and the tree of life in Flames.
I saw the chandelier and the red carpet downstairs and the bamboos and the tree ferns, the gold ferns and the silver, and the soft green velvet of the moss on the garden wall. ” (112). Antoinette’s recalls the “Grandfather clock” this reminds her of her childhood when she was at her aunt house. Remembering her “Aunt Cora patchwork all colours” felt abandoned by her aunt. Remembering “the orchids” scares her resembles the forest that she dreamt as a child. Antoinette’s final dream was a build up of all her emotions that led to her own madness.
Wide Sargasso Sea displays subconscious dreams that allow the reader to follow how Antoinette’s sanity changes over time. Antoinette’s dream changes over time when she encounters something dramatic in her life. Causing her sanity to change over time, making her feel unsure about her surroundings. Antoinette’s tries to connect the pieces from her Coulibri to Thornfield hall, her reality fell apart. Her inability to connect her emotion, she lost hope once she couldn’t connect anything.