Language in Wide Sargasso Sea isn't just a medium for communicating thoughts and feelings, but a social force that actually shapes the fates of the characters. It marks a character's place in society, as when the black characters use a dialect of English that sounds broken or even obscene to the white characters. It can signal the introduction of a foreign or exotic element, as when Christophine speaks in patois, a dialect of French spoken in the Caribbean. In the form of gossip or lies, language can inspire as much fear and distrust as an actual threat, and it can manufacture scandals that ruin people's lives. As a product of language itself, the novel wrestles with the medium, drawing attention to the ways in which stories are told and received.
Antoinette's tragic view of life and her deep suspicion of Rochester leads her to reject an open dialogue with him about her past, and with it the possibility of a genuine relationship.
By leaving open the question of whether Christophine's obeah actually works, the novel focuses attention on how much rumor, or the mythology that the community has constructed around obeah, contributes to obeah's so-called "magical" power.