Relationships between men and women are of a complex nature it embodies a power structure that oppresses women. Created by male oppression, a confined barrier is in placed on a woman to instate dominance and control in her life; this leads the detriment of the female physic causing her emotional and mental trauma. Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) and Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (1847) illustrates the plight of women trapped in an imagined world of male expectations. Resulting in extreme female duress, alteration of individual perception on one's self and causes female madness. Their womanhood intertwines with issues of madness and enslavement as a result of the men in their lives. It is clear that women lose their identity in relationships that are dominant by men.
Males in the nineteenth century dominated females economically, as it was based on patriarchal ideology. Economic dominance meant that males acquired power over females, and women were "subversive to patriarchy (Gordon, 31).
In the marriage of Antoinette and Mr. Rochester in Wide sarragaso Sea , the play of economic power and dominance is very clear. As in one scene, Antoinette runs to her friend and nurse Christophine for advice on how to make Mr. Rochester love her again and how to get him to pay more attention to her. Christophine advices Antoinette to leave Mr. Rochester and start all over again, "You ask me a hard thing, I tell you a hard thing, pack up and go"(Rhys, 68). Antoinette understands that she is stuck in a situation where she is powerless economically, "He will not come after. And you must understand I am not rich now, I have no money of my own at all, everything I had belongs to himÃ¢ÂÂ¦that is the English law" (Rhys, 69). When Mr. Rochester marries...