Wide Sargasso Sea
by Jean Rhys
Analysis: Narrator Point of View
Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?
The novel is a patchwork of various first-person narratives, told directly to the reader (Antoinette, Rochester) or told to another character (Grace Poole). Moreover, the narratives often relate the same events from different perspectives. For example, the events in Antoinette's childhood are relayed in Antoinette's narrative in Part I, then told from various gossipy points of view (Daniel, Amélie, Christophine, among them) to Rochester, then Antoinette again retells the story in an abbreviated form to Rochester. In all this story-telling, the novel never gives us access to the truth of what happens from the point of view of some impartial or omniscient observer, so it's easy to get lost in an endless spiral of who says what about whom.