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Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea


by Jean Rhys

Wide Sargasso Sea Part II, Section 4 Summary

Subsection 1

  • Amélie hands Rochester a letter from Daniel Cosway.
  • The letter is somewhat hard to follow, as Daniel switches back and forth between wordy bouts of self-pity and gossip about Antoinette's family. Daniel's letter is basically another version of the events that we've learned so far from Antoinette. According to Daniel, however, the Cosways have brought their fate upon themselves through immoral behavior (randy Mr. Cosway) and the inherent madness that all white Creoles share. Daniel claims that Richard Mason tricked Rochester into marrying Antoinette, and implies that Christophine or some form of black magic was involved. Daniel also claims that he's too stupid to make up these stories, so they must be true.
  • To confirm his story, Daniel tells Rochester to ask Richard Mason three questions: 1) whether Antoinette's mother was murderously insane; 2) whether Antoinette's brother was an "idiot"; 3) and whether Antoinette is also insane. He also asks Rochester to come visit him for more information – Amélie knows the way.
  • After reading this letter, Rochester is stunned. He walks along the river, and, when he returns, he catches Amélie telling Antoinette that Christophine is leaving.
  • When Amélie sees Rochester, she laughs and says he looks as if he's seen a zombie, and suggests that he's sick of Antoinette and plans on leaving her as well. Antoinette hits Amélie, Amélie hits back, and Rochester has to break up the fight. As Amélie leaves, she sings a mocking song about a "white cockroach."
  • Christophine comes in and explains that she's leaving because she knows that Rochester doesn't like her, and she doesn't want to create friction between the two. She threatens Amélie with dire consequences if Amélie doesn't behave, and leaves, muttering some patois. Antoinette retreats into her room.

Subsection 2

  • Antoinette still hasn't left her room, so Rochester decides to take a nap. When he wakes up, she seems to be asleep, so he decides to go for a walk.

Subsection 3

  • On his walk, Rochester gets lost in a dark forest. In many ways, this walk is like Antoinette's nightmare, only instead of being followed by a strange, hostile stranger, Rochester feels that the entire forest is "hostile." He follows what looks like an old paved road until he hits a clearing and the ruins of a stone house. At the bottom of a wild orange tree, he sees bunches of flowers tied with grass.
  • A small girl sees Rochester. He tries to greet her, but she screams and runs away.
  • Rochester tries to find his way back, but gets lost as night descends. Finally, Baptiste tracks him down and guides him back to the house.
  • Antoinette still hasn't left her bed, so Rochester decides to spend the night with some quiet reading. He flips open to a chapter on obeah, where he reads that zombies are either dead people who seem to be alive or live people who seem to be dead. The author notes that blacks refuse to discuss obeah, or, when they do, they usually lie. The effects of obeah magic – or vodou, as it is called in Haiti – are attributed to an untraceable poison.

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