Part one, section 10

Wide Sargasso Sea pages 26 - 29: Antoinette's visit to her mother ... Louise's comments on a nun

Synopsis of part one, section 10

Antoinette is sent to a convent school near her Aunt Cora's house. Although the school itself provides a peaceful refuge for her, she does have to face bullying by two children, a boy and a girl, on her walk to the school. They taunt her by calling her insane like her mother and saying that both she and her mother are like the living dead. She is rescued from their persecution by Sandi Cosway, her cousin, who is of mixed race. His father is Alexander Cosway, the son of Old Cosway from one of his slaves (and thus Annette's half brother), but his mother was black. Mr Mason had discouraged any associations between Antoinette and her mixed race relations.

Commentary on part one, section 10

  • The term coloured is used to refer to someone of mixed black and white, African/Anglo-European racial ancestry.
  • Antoinette is sent to a Roman Catholic school in Spanish Town run by nuns. Their convent would be attached to the school.
  • A sandbox tree is native to West India.
  • The boy's white colouring shows that he is an albino negro.
  • Radical republican factions during the French Revolution in the late eighteenth century were called sans-culottes, meaning literally ‘without trousers'. The girl may be using it loosely to refer to Annette's poor state.
  • A zombie was believed to be one of the living dead or a person whose spirit has been stolen by witchcraft. This could be a person brought back to life by obeah or some other practice.
  • The French phrase Oh là là means ‘Oh, goodness me'.

Investigating part one, section 10

  • In this section the incidents partially disclose Antoinette's relationships with others in this community.
    • Who do you think these others are?
    • Who is Sandi?
  • What does this section tell us about the complex racial situation in this culture?


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