Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea: Discussion questions
May 30, 2012
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Hi everyone – Iris asked me to apologise on her behalf for not having been able to post these sooner, but life got unexpectedly busy for her. But it’s never too late, right? Here are some possible discussion topics she and Jodie had planned for this month’s titles, Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea. As usual, feel free to incorporate as many as you want in a post or comment, to add questions of your own, or to approach the books from a completely different angle. Different perspectives are always welcome.
- Do you think Jane Eyre is a feminism text? Which aspects of the story do you think could be read as feminist, and which do you think perhaps couldn’t?
- How does Jane Eyre’s development as a (possibly) proto-feminist character narrative compare to the development of the other female characters in the novel?
- Do you think any of the male characters can be read along feminist lines? Do you, for example, think that Rochester as presented in Jane Eyre fosters Jane’s growth towards becoming an independent woman? Do you think this is restrained to his treatment of Jane, or does it go for all women?
- How did reading Wide Sargasso Sea change your perception of Rochester, or possibly even of Jane Eyre as willing to accept Rochester’s role as “victim”?
- Do you think Wide Sargasso Sea can be read as a feminist text independently from Jane Eyre? Is it even possible to read the two books separate from each other?
- Do you think revisionist fiction has an important role to play as a feminist enterprise by addressing some of these gaps in early texts, which were often constrained by their societies and contributed to dehumanising certain groups of women? Do you see revisionism as a tool for questioning dominant narratives, even within feminist, and giving a voice to women who were previously voiceless? Why or why not?