In my introduction to this book, I indicated that a major concern of critical theorists today lies with the idea of reading as a process which creates the text. I also identified the need for a reader-based textual analysis of the work of Jean Rhys, an analysis which would liberate the novels from a forced relationship to the writer herself. My attempt to generate just such a reading of these texts has also been an attempt to compensate for the over-simplification of the ‘Rhys woman’. By focusing on each main character in turn, I have tried to highlight her complexity as an individual personality rather than as a part of a synthesised whole. At the same time, however, I have not ignored the link of gender which connects all these women, and all other women too, who struggle to find their own form of authority in a patriarchal society.