2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

A Postcolonial Study of the Universalisms and Imperialism in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea
Neil V. Bales
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

With the spread of imperialism in the 18th and 19th centuries came the export of Eurocentric universalisms, such as those displayed in Jane Eyre. These universalisms sought to homogenize foreign culture by providing a seemingly superior structure of culture and identity based on the ideology and methodology of the conquering peoples. In effect, though, these paradigmatic ideas failed to truly apply to and improve the condition of colonized people, instead, creating an intrinsic method of culture erasure that forms an allusion that what imperialistic tenets offer is a guide to a more civilized, cultured world while the reality was that what was offered was instead a hierarchy which robbed the colonized of any identity, community, or history. By comparing colonial-era novels, such as Jane Eyre, with post-colonial texts, such as Wide Sargasso Sea, the correlation of the spread of imperial ideology and destruction of native cultural identity can be witnessed.

Keywords: imperialism, culture, identity, colonialism, post colonialism

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 22-2
Location: VH 1320
Time: 10:00

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