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Who got the mad woman in Jane Eyre out of the attic?

  Jane Reese’s name may be unfamiliar to many readers, but her novel “The Sea of ​​Weeds” occupies a unique place in the history of Western literature: it almost forever rewrote the British novel “Jane Eyre” in 100 million. impressions in the minds of thousands of readers. Charlotte Bronty’s “Jane Eyre” can be described as a household name and has touched countless readers. People are all mourning for the orphan Jane Eyre’s tragic fate in life, and they are also happy for the happiness she finally harvested. of tears. The reader must also remember Mr. Rochester’s wife, the mad woman in the attic. This is because the author presents an image of an alcoholic, indulgent, cruel, cunning, and a madman inherited from generation to generation in front of the reader: she almost destroyed Jane Eyre’s happiness, and also set fire to the manor, causing Rochester’s disability, and she herself was buried in the fire, Suicide. The image of this mad woman is so well known that in the 1980s, two American scholars, Gilbert and Guba, with the title of “The Mad Woman in the Attic”, conducted an analysis of the works of women writers since the 19th century. It has been systematically sorted out and researched, and it has become a classic work in the field of feminist criticism.
  Despite the mad woman’s reputation, it is believed that few readers have sympathy for her, or the desire to know her. Jane Reese’s novel, “The Sea of ​​Weeds,” however, features the mad woman, who frees Bertha from her attic and tells her about her life in the West Indies and her marriage to Rochester. The story, therefore, is often seen as a “prequel” to Jane Eyre.
  It was the writer Jane Rees who let this mad woman out of the attic, a talented woman born in the West Indies like Bertha, but living in England for most of her life, suffering from hardships. To gain a better insight into her work, let’s take a brief look at Jane Reese’s storied and controversial life.
  Jane Rees was born in Russell, Dominica, in 1990 as Ira Rees Williams. Her father is a doctor of Welsh descent and her mother is Creole of Scottish ancestry. Reese came to England at the age of 16 to live with his aunt. She attended Percy School in Cambridge, but was mocked for her odd English pronunciation and her outsider status. She later went to the Royal Academy of Drama to study performing arts, where, too, her teachers struggled to correct her accent, but ultimately failed. In the face of difficulties, Reese did not follow the advice of his teachers and parents to leave the UK. Instead, he found a job as a chorus performer in a mobile performing arts troupe with his natural beauty.
  In 1910, when she was just 20 years old, her father died and her family was in trouble. She began a wandering and uncertain years. She became the lover of several rich men successively. She was deeply in love with the first one, but the other party never married her, and only occasionally provided her with financial assistance. Reese’s life of dependence on a man once made her experience the pain of abortion and almost death. In order to make a living, she worked as a nude model, and went in and out of Fengyue places. While suffering from the hardships of life, she contracted the habit of alcoholism. It was at this time that she began to try to document her life, and later this experience entered the novel “Dark Night Voyage” almost intact.
  During the First World War, Reese worked as a volunteer in a soldier’s cafeteria and met her first husband, French journalist and songwriter Jean Langley. After marriage, she traveled to various European countries with her husband, giving birth to a son and a daughter. In 1924, she was introduced to the British modernist master Ford Maddox Ford, and from then on, Reese officially entered the literary world. Ford praised her for her “surprising sense” of novel form, arguing that her outsider status gave the work a unique perspective. In 1927, her first collection of short stories, Left Bank and Other Tales, was published. Most of the stories were about the lives of women who had experienced similar, discriminated and humiliated experiences, all from one of the British colonies. Dreaming of a foothold in the UK, but having to rely on a certain man to survive, Reese said that they were like themselves, like “doormats in the world of boots”, an oppressed and trampled group. At the time, Reese’s husband was in jail for eight months for an illegal business dealings, and Reese was caught up with Ford. An extramarital affair.
  In 1933, Reese divorced. She married editor Leslie Tilton Smith in 1934, the same year that Voyage of the Night was published. In this work, Reese continued her previous creative theme, with Anna as the protagonist, recording her unbearable experience 10 years ago. Anna’s wandering and helpless, her despair after being abandoned by her lover, the pain of her abortion, and her attachment to the West Indies on the brink of death are all drawn touchingly. When she first arrived in the UK, Anna naively thought that the UK was a symbol of security and strength, and could provide the shelter and warmth she expected. However, after living for a while, she found that the British were so snobbish and ruthless. At this time, the UK in her eyes, even in her dreams, was transformed into a gloomy and dark high wall, which mercilessly separated a girl like her from the colony outside. In the novel, Reese’s modernist style has an appeal that transcends the times. Not only is the language concise, but also the extensive use of images and symbols vividly expresses Anna’s indescribable emotional fluctuations and subtle psychological activities. The use has been very skilled. However, this work, together with the previous “Grace” (reprinted as “Quartet”, 1928), “After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie” (1930), and “Good Morning, Midnight” (1939), etc., She brought ‘out. A certain reputation, but failed to get critical reviews. (In the 1960s, these works gradually returned to their rightful place after the re-emergence of the literary world in Reese and the publication of “Boundless Sea of ​​Algae”.)
  ”Good Morning, Midnight” is worth mentioning, this time, the earlier works The heroine who has tasted the bitterness of the world is already old and fading. Sasha returns to Paris, where she once lived. Mainly using stream-of-consciousness techniques, Reese unravels Sasha’s recollections of her happiest and most absurd years: “She had to cry so others could laugh to their heart’s content.” The novel, though permeated with a touch of sadness, does not Pessimistic, Sasha re-established the connection point with the outside world in Paris, and regained the courage and confidence to live.
  In 1939, Reese moved to Devon with her second husband, and then gradually faded out of the public eye. In 1947, two years after her husband’s death, she married her husband’s cousin, but the husband, in name only, served almost 3 [in prison until his death in 1966. From 1939, when she retired to Devon, until 1957, Reese was mostly living in embarrassment and obscurity. She used alcohol to get drunk and drowned her sorrows, and suffered several mental breakdowns. In 1949, she was also briefly detained for attacking a neighbor. , can be said to have tasted the bitterness of the world.
  In 1957, Reese’s situation took a dramatic turn when the BBC radio station adapted her “Morning, Midnight” into a radio play, and the actor Selma Vaz Diaz searched for the author of the novel. At first, everyone thought Reese Long dead, unexpectedly stumbled across her in the Devon countryside. With the encouragement of an editor, Reese resumed writing and writing, and it was out of control. In the almost ancient years, he ushered in another creative peak, and successively published “The Day They Burned Books” (1960) and “Boundless Sea of ​​Algae”. (1966) “Tigers Look Better” (1968) “My Days: Three Stories” (1975) “Ma’am, It’s Over After Sleep” (1976) and so on. Among her later works, the most noteworthy is “Boundless Sea of ​​Algae”, a painstaking work that lasted 9 years. In her early life in the West Indies, as a descendant of Creoles, her blood, tears and bitterness were recreated shockingly, and her long-term life in the UK could help her deeply analyze Rochester’s soul.
  The story background of “Sea of ​​Algae” is Jamaica, which had just abolished slavery in the 1830s. Bertha’s original name was Antoinette, her father was a fallen slave owner and her mother was Creole (the descendants of whites and local indigenous people). After the death of his father, the young and beautiful mother is not good at housekeeping, and the family is increasingly declining. exist an environment full of racial divide and hatred, Ann and Toinette lead a lonely life. Aboriginal blacks hated slave owners, calling her a “white cockroach,” while whites discriminated against Creoles, calling her a “white-skinned nigger.” Slavery has just been abolished, and blacks have changed from the past camouflaged meekness and loyalty to open hatred and confrontation. Even her childhood playmates raised stones to her. Her family’s manor was burned down by black people, and her brother was swallowed by the fire. Although her mother’s spirit was brutally beaten, she still married the wealthy Mr. Mason by virtue of her beauty. When Antoinette grew up, her stepfather married her to Rochester, a never-before-seen Englishman who had come to the West Indies in search of wealth. She is full of hope for her marriage and longs for a stable and warm home. She told her husband, “I didn’t want to live before I met you. I always wanted to be dead and clean. It took so long to get through.” However, the harsh reality of marriage shattered her dream: Rochester didn’t love her at all. She, after acquiring her property, drifted away from her emotionally. He even deliberately had an affair with the slave girl, mentally torturing her; her husband arbitrarily renamed her Bertha, an English name. Antoinette fell into despair, and was later forcibly taken to England by her husband, to a strange foreign land, and was imprisoned in a dark and cold attic. In the end, with hatred for Rochester, Antoinette ignited the flame of revenge. In the fire, she danced arbitrarily, and in a trance, she vaguely saw the hometown she was dreaming about: the deep and mysterious sea of ​​algae , splendid flowers and magnificent sunset…
  Perhaps because of the mutual sympathy of “being fallen to the end of the world”, Reese said in her autobiography about her original intention of writing this novel: “I read Jane Eyre over and over again, I am sure, This character needs to be built. In Charlotte Bronty’s novel, this Creole is very important to the storyline, but she screams, growls, laughs horribly, and then attacks everyone… to me She has to have a past, and why Rochester can treat her so coldly with peace of mind, why he thinks Bertha is crazy and then she is right, why she burns everything. So, this The characters are convincing.” In a later interview, she also explained, “The Mad Wife in Jane Eyre has always been of interest to me. I believe that Charlotte Bronty must have been interested in the West Indies. The archipelago is prejudiced, and I’m angry about that.”
  Jane Reese successfully realized her original intention in “The Sea of ​​Weeds”. She not only vividly recounted the process of Antoinette’s evolution into Bertha, but also gave this “aphasia” in “Jane Eyre”. With her own voice, the mad woman changed the “marginalized” fate of the mad woman endorsed by Rochester in the context of colonialism and patriarchy, and became the shining protagonist. The Boundless Sea of ​​Algae has thus become a novel text that scholars of feminism and postcolonialism should not underestimate. In addition to the depth of thought, the technique Jane Rees employs in her novel is also noteworthy. She is one of the first novelists in the UK to use stream-of-consciousness techniques. In her novels, she intersperses a large number of streams of consciousness to show Antoinette’s erratic thoughts, especially her dazed mind after realizing that her husband doesn’t love her. World: In addition, the novel uses many symbols and metaphors to convey the indescribable emotional changes of the heroine. In addition, the rich imagination, delicate brushstrokes, and extraordinary writing ability add to the appreciation of the novel. It can be said that “Boundless Sea of ​​Algae” is not inferior to “Jane Eyre” both in terms of thought and art.
  Because of this, the novel immediately attracted rave reviews when it was published, winning the Royal Society Award that year and the wH Smith Literary Award the following year. After a 20-year hiatus, author Rees has once again been in the spotlight and was elected to the Royal Society of Letters at the age of 80. “Boundless Sea of ​​Algae” was listed among the 100 best English novels of the 20th century by Time magazine, and won the “Cheltham” Literary and Art Award in 2006. The award is an extension of the English-language fiction world’s most prestigious, the Booker Prize, which is awarded only to the best novel of the year, while the Cheltenham Prize is awarded to a particular year (“Booker Prize”). In a year before the birth of the Gram Award, the year is determined by the jury) for outstanding novels that have not received sufficient attention, and the winners are announced at the annual “Cheltham Literary Festival”.
  Jane Reese’s rise to fame in her later years reversed her nearly impoverished fortunes. Perhaps, those unbearable ordeals in the past have given her a profound insight into life, allowing her to understand Antoinette’s pain and struggle more deeply, and suffering has become her rare wealth. In an interview shortly before her death, she questioned whether any novelist, including herself, could be truly happy. She said: “If I had a choice, I would rather choose happiness than writing…I wish I could live again and choose again…” For her, writing is always accompanied by pain. It can be said that she has fully integrated her life experience into her works. In all her works, readers can clearly find her shadow. Those beautiful, light and fragile female images all reflect her own suffering. Footprints of struggle in life.
  Reese’s reputation has grown since she returned to the literary world. In 1978, she was awarded the title of “Sir of the British Empire”. Reese died in Devon in 1979 at the age of 88, leaving an unfinished autobiography. After this unfinished work was published under the title of “Please Smile”, it was enthusiastically praised by the famous critic Mrs. Quetling – Diana Qutlin in the “New York Times” book review: “Except for a little Procrastination, Miss Reese’s writing is as beautiful and free as ever.”