In Wide Sargasso Sea, Rhys envisioned a side story for the “mad woman in the attic”, the character of Sir Rochester’s wife in the popular novel Jane Eyre, in which The author gives important depictions of colonialism, race, and the brutal ways of turning a marriage into a form of oppression of women.
Antoinette Cosway was a poor white woman living in Jamaica when she married a rich white man: Mr. Rochester, this man was nothing like the role Jane envisioned him. He renamed his new wife Bertha, an insult in itself. After bringing this woman back to England, he realizes that he neither loves her nor her strange, colonial-style lifestyle, so he locks her in an attic room. Away from her family and isolated without a way out, Antoinette went insane and eventually took her own life.