Part one, section 9

Wide Sargasso Sea pages 24 - 26: Antoinette's haircut ... Aunt Cora's sorrowful song

Synopsis of part one, section 9

After her escape from the destruction of Coulibri, Anntoinette is ill and unaware of what has happened. As she recovers she learns that Pierre has died of his injuries and that her mother has been driven into a deeply depressed state by grief. She visits her mother, who now lives away from the family, but is rejected by her.

Commentary on part one, section 9

  • Arrowroot is a drink for invalids made from the root of a West Indian plant.
  • A large cloth hung by the ends and used to carry things and people over rough ground is known as a hammock.
  • Antoinette' mention of Pierre's death infers that his condition had been bad for some time and / or that his spirit had died before his body.
  • One black spiritual song is called Before I was set free. In her letters, Jean Rhys said that she thought about this phrase as a possible title for the novel.

Investigating part one, section 9

  • What is the significance of the song Antoinette chooses?
    • Why does she prefer an old slaves' song?
  • Aunt Cora and Antoinette are hiding things from each other
    • What are these things?
    • Why are they doing this?


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