World history has repeatedly been characterized by countries dominating one another, controlling everything from social norms and expectations to currency. It is difficult to consider modern Western culture without regarding the influence of past power struggles between conflicting nations — nations whose own cultures have shaped the ones existing today. History texts detail these relations, and although many of these factual accounts of nation ownership provide a broad, sweeping idea of life in an imperially dominated country (those countries operating under the rule of another nation), literature supplies a much more detailed, intimate examination of what it means to live in one country ruled by another. Fictional narratives, though they utilize imagined characters leading invented lives, reflect the actual situation of their day, making them relevant to us even today as we examine the past to better understand how such power struggles from the times of old have shaped modern culture. Two such literary works are Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847) and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), both of which explore the notion that such a power imbalance serves to benefit those in authority while suppressing the ruled. The resulting reciprocal relationship that develops suggests that what one gains, another must first lose. It is this phenomenon present in these works that I am keen to investigate.
"Power and the Cultural Other: Insights from Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea. A Critical Literary Analysis,"
Vol. 8, Article 13.
Available at: https://uknowledge.uky.edu/kaleidoscope/vol8/iss1/13