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West Indian intellectual
Helen Carr

This chapter addresses in what sense Jean Rhys could be called a West Indian. Three of her first four novels, and many of her short stories, are placed in Europe, and have heroines with no apparent knowledge of the Caribbean. The fiercest battle over her place in West Indian literature was fought out in the 1970s. Rhys is a diasporic intellectual, with the migrant's consciousness of the shifting complexity of identities and the impossibility of an assured ‘arrival’. Like other West Indians, Rhys met immediate prejudice when she reached England. Her attitudes are never simple, and she says at one point that her hatred of England was really ‘disappointed love’. Rhys' fiction imagines Englishness as the apotheosis of whiteness, in contrast to Caribbean blackness. Wide Sargasso Sea is Rhys' most Caribbean novel, linguistically as well as in subject matter.

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain