It is easy to dismiss Jean Rhys's heroines as passive victims of men. Yet this passivity, so disturbing to the reader, is also a form of rebelHon. Lacking the power to change their Uves in a society which offered women without family or money few options, her women negate themselves. They say no not only to self-defmition and an orderly life but to the bourgeois code, 'the soul-destroying middle' (p. 20). And it is with the soul, in particular the female soul, that Jean Rhys is most concerned.
Brandmark, Wendy, The Power of the Victim. A Study of Quartet, After Leaving Mr Mackenzie and Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys, Kunapipi, 8(2), 1986.