Wide Sargasso Sea
by Jean Rhys
Grace Poole, Antoinette's guard and nurse at Thornfield Hall, gets some brief play at the end of the novel – even a short narrative of her own. Even though it seems kind of random, it does make sense that Grace has her own story. In keeping with the novel's general project of telling the untold story behind Jane Eyre, Grace Poole gets a chance to explain why she would ever take a job where she's paid to be stuck in a room all alone with a so-called lunatic. In Jane Eyre, Jane mistakes Grace for Antoinette (called Bertha in Jane Eyre), so Grace is a kind of double for Antoinette. Grace's identification and sympathy with Antoinette's story shows how Antoinette's story can be applied to women of all nationalities. As Grace says, "the world outside…can be a black and cruel world to a woman" (III.1.2).