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Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea

by Jean Rhys

Identity Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #10

I heard the parrot call as he did when he saw a stranger, Qui est là? Qui est là? And the man who hated me was calling too, Bertha! Bertha! […] 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 […] Someone screamed and I thought, Why did I scream? I called "Tia!" and jumped and woke. (III.7.6)

These lines are from the end of Antoinette's recurring dream. Here it sounds as if, in answer to the question "Qui est là?" ("Who is there?"), Antoinette's answer isn't Antoinette or Bertha, but Tia. A mark of her identification with Tia, her hostile childhood "friend"? If so, does that mean she's waking up as Tia? Are we supposed to read her burning down the house as being somehow motivated by her identification with Tia, a black female character? Or does her calling out "Tia!" reflect the persistent splitting of her self, closing off the possibility of ever having an identity to call her own? Hmm….

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