Wide Sargasso Sea
by Jean Rhys
Wide Sargasso Sea Love Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Section.Subsection [if applicable].Paragraph). Wide Sargasso Sea is divided into three parts. Within those parts, the novel does not number sections and subsections. This guide refers to sections if they are marked by an asterisk or some other symbol in the text. Within those sections, the novel indicates subsections by an extra line break.
I learnt to say very quickly as the others did, "offer up all the prayers, works and sufferings of this day." But what about happiness, I thought at first, is there no happiness? There must be. Oh happiness, of course, happiness, well. But I soon forgot about happiness. (I.2.5.1)
At the convent, Antoinette questions the overwhelming emphasis on happiness as possible only in the afterlife – i.e., after death, in heaven.
The saints we hear about were all very beautiful and wealthy. All loved by rich and handsome young men. […] and [Mother St. Justine] slides on to order and chastity, that flawless crystal that, once broken, can never be mended. (I.2.4.2-3)
As part of her religious education, Antoinette hears a lot of stories about young maidens who choose a life "married" to their God as opposed to hot young men. These stories reinforce what she learned from her mother's unhappy marriage to Mr. Mason: romantic love isn't possible, and sexual desire can only corrupt and degrade.
"I'll trust you if you'll trust me. Is that a bargain?" (II.2.26)
We feel compelled to repeat here that maybe Rochester isn't such a terrible guy. (Doesn't really help the novel if he's just a one-sided, flat-out-mean villain, right?) In an honorable mood, Rochester touches on the one thing that Antoinette and he both need if their marriage is to survive: mutual trust. Of course, the rest of the novel is just a long series of betrayals, but at least he made an effort.