Charlotte Bronte’s romantic novel, Jane Eyre, influenced Creole writer, Jean
Rhys. Jean Rhys’s novel, Wide Sargasso Sea, is about a Creole heiress, Antoinette
Cosway, who is born into an oppressive, colonialist society. She meets a young Englishman who is drawn to her innocent sensuality
and beauty. After their marriage, the rumors begin as she poisons her husband against her. Antoinette is caught between his
demands and her own precarious sense of belonging, thus, causing her to be driven towards madness.
Charlotte Bronte influenced Jean Rhys by the creation of Bertha Mason, a crazy lady. Both
novels focus on the continuous mirroring of double identity. The female personas, Jane Eyre and Antoinette Cosway, in both
novels are isolated women in a male patriarchal world. Although the environments they live in are different, their experiences
are similar. Both travel from one “prison” to another as the respective novels' develop. Antoinette's isolation
is the nunnery while Jane's isolation is Lowood. Both places, respectively, become paradoxically safe havens for them. They
both embrace their isolation as a kind of security.
Jean Rhys creates a double to Charlotte Bronte’s Rochester
which has the result of challenging his innocence in Jane Eyre. In a literal context,
Rhys rewrote Jane Eyre with her own personal inputs and outcomes. Bronte’s
influence on Rhys aided in the creation of Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea.