Wide Sargasso Sea Revisited: Elizabeth Nunez’s Bruised Hibiscus And Men Women Business

2457 words - 10 pages

Elizabeth Nunez writes Bruised Hibiscus (2000) offering some of the most complicated issues of female identity, oppression and quest for liberation in male centered postcolonial Caribbean society with strong resonances to Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea (1966). Nunez’s central characters Zuela and Rosa Appleton undergo a series of annihilation of their identities and exploitation and oppression from their husbands. By situating Rosa in a similar position as of Antoinette Cosway in Wide Sargasso Sea, Nunez creates yet another story of a Caribbean creole who suffers denial and becomes a victim of male-centred society ending up her life in complete doom and negation without any hope of autonomy and existence. However, Nunez projects some hope of light through Zeula by giving her an agency to fight against male oppression and draw a map for better life for future generation in the Caribbean society.
Rosa Appleton, a daughter of a wealthy white family descended from the plantation owners in Bruised Hibiscus becomes a victim of sexual exploitation and deeply rooted racial prejudice of her husband, Cedric who, on the one hand thinks Rosa as responsible for slavery and its impacts on the non-white people, on the other hand, dreams of climbing up the social ladder by getting Colonial education. Cedric situates himself in an inferior position of a colonized and directs his anger against Rosa when he says, “As long as I live, I will never get over how you people have the arrogance. I mean the unmitigated arrogance to think you can come here and rule us, to think you are superior to us, better than us, and once you get here, you don’t even open a book. You don’t know the slightest thing. Nothing” (Nunez 55). Colonial presence has done so much damage to people of the Caribbean that they consider every white people responsible for their misfortune, and direct their wrath against them. Rosa simply becomes a victim of a long history of slavery, suppression and exploitation of the black people by the whites. Cedric cannot do away from the notion that whites are the ‘Self’ and non-Whites as the ‘Other’ as Edward Said, in Orientalism, argues (7). Even though emancipation ends the colonial rule, colonized people still feel the strong colonial presence and white people as their oppressors. Rosa not only becomes the victim of the gaze that the black people have to the whites as superior and responsible for their miserable condition but also from the patriarchal notion of women as inferior and therefore, the Other. Rosa must have to dismantle the patriarchal norm and its language because that turned the women away from their bodies and victimized them on the false notion that each one loves the other sex. Therefore women have to come out of that narrow patriarchal circle and, as Helene Cixous argues, they:
… must write through their bodies, they must invent the impregnable language that will wreck partitions, classes, and rhetorics, regulations and codes, they must...

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