narrative techniques in wide sargasso sea

Essay by Mabel1234College, Undergraduate October 2014

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A variety of narratives

Multiple perspectives First and third person narrative First person narration Third person narration Other aspects of narration to consider Narrative irony Stream of consciousness The distinction between the author and the narrator Narrative and Wide Sargasso Sea Narration and Jean Rhys' way of writing

Multiple perspectives

Jean Rhys' novel has two main first person narrators who give their own point of view on the events of the story. Also, the voices of other individuals and groups contribute to the narrative via such devices as:

Reported speech



Fragments of song

Place names.

This mixture of competing and often contradictory voices has meant that Wide Sargasso Sea has been called a 'multi-vocal' or many-voiced novel. By looking at these different narrative methods carefully you can see how:

Jean Rhys builds up her story from multiple perspectives

The novel's form contributes to its themes and ideas.

First and third person narrative

First person narration

This method relates the story in the first person using 'I'. It offers a writer some powerful possibilities:

The narrator is a character in the story so readers come to know them as a person

Readers feel close to the narrator because they share their experience

The story feels direct and immediate because the narrator participates in the action

The story can also seem authentic and 'real' for these reasons.

However, first person narration imposes limitations on the way in which the story can be told:

The action is seen only from a single point of view; the narrator's. This point of view is therefore one-sided and incomplete

What this narrator does not see or understand must be left out

The author must use a range of other devices for telling readers the things the narrator does not know. These...