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Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea

by Jean Rhys

Language and Communication Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

It was their talk about Christophine that changed Coulibri, not the repairs or the new furniture or the strange faces. Their talk about Christophine and obeah changed it. (I.1.6.1)

This quote refers to the power that gossip has, in part because it's the voice of a community, the "they." The second sentence in the quote is kind of odd because it could be read two ways: either the talk about Christophine and the talk about obeah changed Coulibri, or the talk about Christophine and obeah itself (not just the talk about obeah) changed Coulibri.

Quote #2

[Christophine] had a quiet voice and a quiet laugh (when she did laugh), and though she could speak good English if she wanted to, and French as well as patois, she took care to talk as they talked. (I.1.2.9)

Christophine shows here an awareness of how language marks a person's place in society. Even though she can speak "good" English, she knows that to assimilate with the black Jamaican community, she has to speak English in the same way they do.

Quote #3

Say nothing and it may not be true. (II.2.5.20)

This quote is more a statement of a wish than a fact, isn't it? Given the corrosive effects of gossip in Antoinette's life – think of everything that was said about her father, her mother, and her brother – her desire is understandable.

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