Wide Sargasso Sea: Part Two continued (VI)

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He says wildly that he wishes he had never come here and would give his eyes to have never seen “‘this abominable place’”. She says this is the first word of truth he has spoken.


He asks if she wants to say goodbye to Antoinette and she says she has given her something to sleep. He says stiffly that she may write and she says she does not know how to read and write, but knows other things and walks away without looking back.


As he walks up and down in the room, he speaks the letter he means to write and says he knows ‘you’ planned this because ‘you’ wanted rid of him. This imagined letter is to his father and also says how his father and brother did not love him.


The written letter to his father is then recorded and here he tells him they are leaving for Jamaica and circumstances unforeseen by him have forced him to make this decision and is certain his father knows or can guess why and does not want him to discuss his affairs, especially the marriage, with anyone. He plans to stay in Spanish Town and to pay servants to be discrete, but thinks he will be gossiped about.


As he sits, he draws a picture of a large house and divides the third floor into rooms and in one of the rooms he draws a standing woman in ‘a child’s scribble’. The house is English and he wonders if he will see England again. He thinks how he is tied to a ‘lunatic’ for life and she will ‘give herself as no sane woman would – or could’.


They leave the house and Antoinette’s face is ‘blank’ with no expression at all. He thinks he has been bought and she helped them to do it. In parentheses, Daniel’s words about her lying to him are repeated.


The boy with Baptiste is crying and Rochester asks what the matter is with him. Antoinette answers and he hardly recognizes the sound of her voice: ‘The doll had a doll’s voice.’ She tells him the boy asked her when they first came if he (Rochester) would take him with him when he left and does not want any money. He just wants to be with Rochester because he loves him very much. She had told him he would take him and is crying now as Baptiste has told him Rochester will not take him. Rochester is angry and says “‘of course not’” and she says how he knows English and has tried hard to learn it. Rochester says he cannot understand him and in fury he asks what right she had to make promises in his name. She agrees she had no right, and knows nothing about him so cannot speak for him.


He thinks how he hates the people and the place and how she will soon join the others that have to be watched and can wait for the day when she is only ‘a memory to be avoided, locked away’.


The section ends with him deciding to sell the property they are leaving behind. He had meant to give it back to her, but now he thinks ‘what’s the use?’. The ‘stupid boy’ follows them and wipes away his tears and he wonders, ‘who would have thought that any boy would cry like that. For nothing. Nothing …’


Analysis – Part Two continued

Rochester’s callous behavior is reiterated as he is seen to regard Antoinette as a doll with a doll’s voice and his control over her is now complete. She also remains one of those to blame for his predicament, and implies once more that she tricked him into marrying him. Her future treatment is foreshadowed in the child’s scribble he makes of the large house with a prisoner inside and the idea that Antoinette will become a memory that has been locked away.


His lack of emotion, which has been indicated throughout Part Two, is also apparent in his unfeeling interpretation of the ‘stupid boy’ who loves and wants to come with him. By expressing emotion, the boy is degraded by Rochester as one who has no control and is, therefore, to be shunned like Antoinette. The demonstration of emotion is connected to being illogical, irrational and even insane and for this the boy and his wife are condemned as failures.

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