Wide Sargasso Sea
by Jean Rhys
Wide Sargasso Sea Power 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.
After all the house is big and safe, a shelter from the world outside which, say what you like, can be a black and cruel world to a woman. (III.1.2)
This passage from Grace Poole's narrative suggests her feeling of solidarity with Antoinette's fate, a feeling of solidarity that reaches across racial and cultural lines. This passage puts another twist on Brontë's Jane Eyre by implying that Grace Poole both consciously and unconsciously helped Antoinette wreak her revenge on both Richard Mason and Rochester.
"It was when he said 'legally' that you flew at him and when he twisted the knife out of your hand you bit him." (III.4.25)
As we saw in Quote #7, nothing ticks off Antoinette quite so much as when men bring up justice and the law to justify their exploitation of women, whether it's Rochester sleeping with Amélie or Richard signing Antoinette's fortune over to Rochester.
But I looked at the dress on the floor and it was as if the fire had spread across the room. It was beautiful and it reminded me of something I must do. I will remember I thought. I will remember quite soon now. (III.6.10)
The red dress serves as a concrete reminder for Antoinette of her task, which is never explicitly stated, but could be a reference to her vow to show Rochester exactly how much she hates him in Part II (II.6.6.33). The red dress's association with Antoinette's femininity and fire, which recalls the fire at Coulibri, suggests that the red dress is kind of a call to arms for Antoinette, an appeal for her to use the same mode of protest that the blacks used against Mr. Mason earlier in the novel. (See our discussion of Quote #3 above.) This connection is further stressed in the next section when Antoinette dreams of setting fire to Thornfield Hall.