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Furthermore, this suffering is further emphasized through the
concept of a home. The permanent liminal that both characters are stuck in
result in a lack of belonging and therefore they become homeless. Typically, a
home is a place where you are comfortable, safe and free but in Wide Sargasso Sea Antoinette, arguably,
does not have a home. This also creates an anxious atmosphere of not belonging
not only from a literal home but also from her nation; she therefore becomes
homeless socially, psychologically and physically. This homelessness is because
colonialism created “a home away from home” which makes the distance a metaphor
for the psychoanalysis of the relationship of the heimlich to the unheimlich
revealing that behind the construction of hominess lies something fundamentally
unhomely. Rhys’ purposeful creation of
Antoinette’s homelessness is a critique of the power gained from the
maintenance of “dichotomous
oppositions” by her environment. This is noticeable in her suffering at
the hands of: nature “razor
grass cut my legs and arms”; the black natives, “The house was burning…Nothing would be left”
and Mr Rochester “The doll
had a doll’s voice, a breathless but curiously indifferent voice.”
Through Antoinette’s suffering we see the cyclical collapse of the meaning
between the heimlich and unheimlich as the image as of comforting sphere is
just a “screen for the
uncanniness that lurks within it”. This is because homes are only
created through the confrontation of what is ‘not home’ which is foreign and
regarded from a distance due to the fear of the unknown. As a consequence,
though a home may appear homely it hides its unhomeliness and therefore the
heimlich is in fact a screen for the unheimlich. In gothic literature, England
is defined as “home” and in turn the colonised empire is ‘not home’. Rhys’
adoption of the postcolonial gothic mode is emblematic of the collapse of the
heimlich and unheimlich because it reveals the silenced colonial experience and
therefore the book becomes the removal of the heimlich screen. This removal
through the postcolonial gothic genre shows the damaging consequences of
idealised romance present in gothic literature and exceeds this to show a
realist dystopian society. Furthermore, Rhys’ creation of Antoinette is a reply
to British gothic’s atmosphere of fear of the ‘unheimlich’ (the colonised empire) who will usurp the power
heimlich’, cultural degeneration and loss of racial purity. Antoinette
becomes those fears and is “a
transgressive women who threatens to expose the dark underbelly of their own
historical and political contexts.”L. Rhys intentionally keeps her
homeless to show the ‘third space’ where she is left in limbo between the
binaries such as oppressor/oppressed. By showing her never ending suffering
Rhys shows how she is the enemy to the environment as she is not at home in
this society because she does not conform to the “dichotomous oppositions” and therefore threatens
binarical order. The Yellow Wallpaper
is similar and different in the use of the concept of a home. 

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