Wide Sargasso Sea. Jean Rhys David, Ginger, Emily, Thomas and Yvette. Outline. Introduction Gender and R ace : - Relations Between Characters Anette, Antoinette, Christophine, Aunt Cora, Mr. Mason and Tia The R iot. Introduction. Jean Rhys Sargasso Sea
David, Ginger, Emily, Thomas and Yvette
- Relations Between Characters
Anette, Antoinette, Christophine, Aunt Cora,
Mr. Mason and Tia
Rhys once declared, “I have only ever written about myself".
“She wanted to sit with Pierre or walk where she pleased without being pestered, she wanted peace and – quiet.” (11)
“I could see the beads of perspiration on her upper lip and the dark circles under her eyes. I started to fan her, but she turned her head away. She might rest if I left her alone, she said” (13)
“My mother never asked me where I had been or what I had done” (13)
“I put my arms round her and kisses her. She held me so tightly that I couldn’t breathe…and she said , ‘No,’ quietly. Then ‘No nono’ very loudly and flung me from her.” (28)
(2) Gets angry when Antoinette questions about Christophine and other black servants ※ See P. 12 “Does it matter? Why do you pester and bother me about all these things that happened long ago?”
(3) Feels embarrassed seeing Antoinette wearing Tia’s dirty dress ※ See P. 15
“All that evening my mother didn’t speak to me or look at me and I thought, ‘She is ashamed of me. What Tia said is true.’”
(4) Only thinks about her son Pierre, never mentions her Antoinette’s name a. Arrange the appointment with the doctor
b. When Antoinette has a nightmare “She sighed and covered me up. ‘You were making such a noise. I must go to Pierre, you’ve frightened him.’”
c. After Mason refuses to get away, Annette threatens to leave with Pierre
*West Indies, refer to folk magic, sorcery, and religious practices
derived from Central African and West African origins.
Obeah can either be a form of 'dark' magic or 'good' magic.
*In some Caribbean nations Obeah refers to African diasporic folk religions;
in other areas, Christians may include elements of Obeah in their religion.
*Obeah is often associated with the Spiritual Baptist church.
Antoinette compares the garden at Coulibri Estate to the biblical Garden of Eden
Excess, lost innocence.
The garden has “gone wild,” brilliant colors, strong odors, and tangling overgrowth.
The flowers look vaguely sinister; The orchid’s “snaky looking,”
Biblical fall and man’s decline into greed and sensuality. (P.19)
The girls from the bayside who sometimes helped with the washing and cleaning were terrified of her. That, I soon discovered, was why they came at all – for she never paid them. Yet they brought presents of fruit and vegetables and after dark I often heard low voices from the kitchen. (p.21)
Anette: I dare say we would have died if she’d turned against us and that would have been a better fate. (p.21)
Antoinette: “Would Christophine go if you told her to?” I thought. But I didn’t say it. I was afraid to say it. (p.22)
As a servant: Cooking, Washing
More than a servant: Wisdom, Power,
As a mother: Antoinette and her son
Advisor: People (women) consultant
Protector: Anette, Antoinette
Ageless, Practice Obeah
Has a history, Intuition…etc
Dislike people, Nightmares
White cockroach, Fatherless
Observant, Sensitive, Quiet
<Close to Nature>
She was much blacker – blue black with a thin face and straight features. She wore a black dress, heavy gold earrings and yellow handkerchief – carefully tied with the two high points in front. No other negro woman wore black, or tied her handkerchief Martinique fashion.
…She could speak good English if she wanted to, and French as well as patois, she took care to talk as they talked. But they would have nothing to do with her and she never see her son who worked in Spanish Town. She had only one friend – a woman called Maillotte, and Maillotte was not a Jamaican.
When evening came she sang to me if she was in the mood. I couldn't always understand her patois songs – she also came from Martinique…Her songs were not like Jamaican songs, and she was not like other women. (p.20)
When I was safely home I sat close to the old wall at the end of the garden…Christophine found me there when it was nearly dark, and I was so stiff she had to help me to get up. She said nothing, but next morning Tia was in the kitchen with her mother Maillotte, Christophine’s friend. (p.23)
But Christphine told her loudly that it shameful. She run wild, she grow up worthless. And nobody care…While Christophine scrubbed my face and tied my plaits with a fresh piece of string, she told me that those were the new people at Nelson’s Rest. ‘Old Mr Luttrell spit in their face if he see how they look at you. Trouble walk into the house this day. Trouble walk in.’ (p.26)
I was going to see my mother. I had insisted that Christophine must be with me, no one else…(p.28/47)
I know her rooms so well – the picture of the Holy Family and the prayer for a happy death. She had a bright patchwork counterpane, a broken down press for her clothes, and my mother had given her an old rocking chair. (p.21)
Yet one day when I was waiting there I was suddenly very much afraid…I was certain that hidden in the room (behind the old black press?) there was a dead man’s dried hand, white chicken feathers, a cock with its throat cut…Drop by drop the blood was falling into a red basin and I imagined I could hear it.
“There was no need for music when she danced.”
“He didn’t come to the West Indies to dance - he came to make money as they all do”
“Why should a very wealthy man who could take his pick of all the girls in the West Indies, and many in England too probably?”
“Then if why should he marry a widow without a penny to her name and Coulibri a wreck of a place?”
“She never did anything to stop him – She encouraged him.”
“But when I looked over the edge I saw the pool at Coulibri. Tia was there. She beckoned to me and when I hesitated, she laughed. I heard her say, You frightened? And I heard the man’s voice, Bertha! Bertha! All this I saw and heard in a fraction of a second. And the sky so red. Someone screamed and I thought, Why did I scream? I called “Tia!” and jumped and woke.” (from Part three)
It’s unlucky to kill a parrot
Sea of blackness
Look the white
→She seemingly doesn’t care about Mr. Mason
→the ultimate clash