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Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea


by Jean Rhys

Wide Sargasso Sea Part II, Section 5 Summary

Subsection 1

  • Antoinette sets out on horseback to visit Christophine. At Mounes Mors (which means "the Dead Ones,") the horse stumbles, so Antoinette has to get off and walk the horse the rest of the way.
  • Seeing Christophine, Antoinette flashes back to a childhood memory of Christophine washing her clothes by the river along with some women. She remembers feeling as if she belonged there.
  • Antoinette tells Christophine that Rochester no longer loves her, and asks Christophine for her advice. At first, Christophine tells Antoinette to leave Rochester for a short while (i.e., play hard to get). She utters the time-honored wisdom that "when man don't love you, more you try, more he hate you, man like that" (II.5.1.14). Christophine suggests Antoinette go to Martinique, but Antoinette says she might go to England.
  • At the thought of England, Antoinette has the uncanny feeling that, even though she's never been to England, she knows exactly what she'll find there: the look of snow, a bed with red curtains, and the end of her recurring nightmare. Christophine dismisses this idea.
  • But really this is just Antoinette's way of warming up Christophine for her real request: she wants Christophine to fix her up an obeah potion. Christophine balks. At first she says it's just nonsense, as if she's denying that obeah exists, and then she says that "bad bad trouble come when béké meddle with that," which suggests that she believes that obeah works (II.5.1.37).

Subsection 2

  • Antoinette then has a flashback to an unspecified time before her wedding when she overheard her aunt Cora arguing with Richard Mason over the wedding arrangements. Aunt Cora believed it was scandalous for Richard to sign over Antoinette's inheritance to Rochester, but Richard insisted that Rochester was an honorable man.
  • After the argument, Antoinette walked in, and Aunt Cora offered her a bag with her rings to sell just in case Antoinette needed the money.
  • Antoinette must have sold one ring, as she says that she wants to sell "another" but isn't sure if she can find a buyer on this island.

Subsection 3

  • Christophine gives Antoinette the surprisingly good advice that Antoinette should just talk to the guy, coolly and rationally (not, say, in those weird, morbid nighttime conversations about unhappiness and death). But Antoinette is so distraught that, after drawing some random lines and circles in the dirt, Christophine agrees to give her a potion, but only if Antoinette agrees to talk to the guy first. Of course, if she's already given Antoinette the potion, then there's no way for her to take it back if Antoinette doesn't keep to the bargain, so…well, you know what's coming.
  • Antoinette offers Christophine money, which Christophine rejects. However, it is unclear whether Christophine really does give back the money, because Antoinette later states that she had "forced" Christophine to make her a potion with her "ugly money" (II.5.3.30).
  • As Antoinette leaves, she hears a cock crowing, which echoes back to all the other times that characters have heard cocks crowing. Only here, Antoinette thinks of Judas, making an explicit link to the Biblical story of treachery.

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