Part two, section 3

Wide Sargasso Sea pages 46 - 48: The colourful scene ... Antoinette's agreement to marry

Synopsis of part two, section 3

Drowsing in bed, Rochester reflects on his state of mind in the days leading up to his wedding. He felt detached from everything and he and Antoinette did not communicate properly. He refers to playing the role expected of him, as if the whole experience was something ordered by others. Friends, family and servants seemed to pity him but he does not know why. Antoinette too had doubts and at one point refused to marry him because she was anxious as to how it would turn out.

Commentary on part two, section 3

  • Rochester ironically undercuts the pious claims of the planters' families that their slave-owning relatives rest peacefully, and is thus critical of the church which appears to condone their behaviour
  • Richard Mason is Antoinette's step brother, Mason's son. He also appears in Jane Eyre, although in that novel Charlotte Bronte makes Bertha his sister, not his half-sister. It is he who intervenes to prevent Rochester from marrying Jane Eyre bigamously.
  • Church weddings take place in front of the altar (traditionally at the east end of the building), a place associated with solemnity.
  • Rochester speaks to his wife using simple language as if to a child.

Investigating part two, section 3

  • This section is a flashback to the wedding itself
    • Why do you think Jean Rhys has chosen to narrate this event after the honeymoon?
  • Thinking back over the first three sections of part two:
    • Why do you think Rochester married Antoinette?
    • Why did she marry him?


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