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Boggley wollah and "sulphur-steams" Colonialism in "Vanity Fair" and "Jane Eyre"

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Description: This thesis examines Vanity Fair 's Indian connection by focusing on Jos Sedley, and investigates Jane Eyre 's Jamaican coloniality through a discussion of Bertha, Richard Mason, and Edward Rochester. These characters in both novels provide a potential critique of Britain's imperial project by suggesting that the colonies are locations of physical, psychic and moral corruption as well as degeneracy and death. The introductory chapter includes historical background for both colonial loci. Chapter 2 examines Vanity Fair 's Jos Sedley, the corpulent Collector of Boggley wollah. As an employee of the British East India Company, Jos Sedley at first appears to be a parodic portrait of an early nineteenth-century Anglo-Indian nabob; however, as the novel progresses, Jos's actions, character traits, treatment by the Company, and relationships with his family and other characters reveal a possible critique of Britain's commercial project in India. Chapter 3 moves from Asia to the Caribbean to focus on three characters in Jane Eyre with direct or indirect connections to the Jamaican sugar-slave system: Bertha Mason Rochester, Richard Mason, and Edward Rochester. Through her connection to a corrupt, slave-driven colonial economic system, Bertha seems to devolve into a dehumanized, monstrous creature; Richard too appears monstrous, imbecilic, and immature; and Rochester is seduced by colonial sensuality and avarice. The thesis concludes by briefly examining in Chapter 4 some key late twentieth-century, early twenty-first century postcolonial concerns and demonstrating how Vanity Fair and Jane Eyre may have anticipated some of these postcolonial ideas.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work