Part two, section 14

Wide Sargasso Sea pages 80 - 87: Moving the telescope ... Final memories of candle snuffing

Synopsis of part two, section 14

Rochester reports the argument between himself and Antoinette as he tries to find out the truth. Antoinette explains her past and the malignant ambitions of Daniel Cosway in order to correct what Rochester has been told about her.

The scene is reported from Rochester's point of view so that, although we hear Antoinette's version in her dialogue, we are closer to him and his internal conflicting emotions. He explains to Antoinette that he feels a stranger and that the place is on her side, not his. But she replies by stressing the indifference of the natural world. She also discloses what she has found out about the abuse her mother has suffered since her incarceration for madness.

Rochester feels they have come closer after these exchanges. However he insists on calling Antoinette ‘Bertha', which she resists. The section ends with Rochester being suspicious of white powder on the floor of Antoinette's bedroom, then accepting a drink from her which appears to be drugged

Commentary on part two, section 14

  • According to the Bible, the world is designed by - and originates from – the Judeo / Christian God, known as the Creator.
  • Someone suffering from a congenital condition which can lead to mental and physical deficiency used to be termed a cretin.
  • The scattered powder that Rochester notices suggests Christophine's obeah rituals.


Investigating part two, section 14

  • Rochester listens to Antoinette's explanations
    • Make notes on his varying reactions to what she says.
  • How does Rhys' style convey the idea that Rochester is being drugged?



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