Part one, section 5

Wide Sargasso Sea pages 13 - 14: Annette's dancing skills ... A failure in understanding

Synopsis of part one, section 5

Local gossip continues when Annette and Mason return from their honeymoon. Antoinette is troubled and made fearful by the gossip she has overheard, especially tales about Christophine as a woman who practises obeah. (See: Religious / philosophical context > Religion > Obeah)

Commentary on part one, section 5

  • Trinidad is another Caribbean island which became a British colony in 1802.
  • The large sugar estates were being sold off cheaply in a period of economic slump due to a fall in the price of sugar and the emancipation of slaves. (See: Social / political context > Slavery, slave resistance and the anti-slavery movement)
  • Obeah is a system of belief in African and Caribbean folk practice in which the practitioner is perceived as both priest and sorcerer. White slave owners regarded the practice as witchcraft and tried to stamp it out. (See:  Religious / philosophical context > Religion > Obeah)
  • The word Providence generally denotes the outworking of the goodness of God. It is therefore considered unwise to go against it. Mason means that Aunt Cora has evaded the disasters experienced by other long established planter families when the Emancipation Act came into force. The phrase sounds as if Antoinette is repeating Mason's own words. It is clear that he dislikes and distrusts Aunt Cora.
  • Native English people of the period considered themselves socially and racially superior to white Creoles (see Social / political context > Creole identity and language)
  • When she says that her family is misunderstood by everyone, Antoinette is making a distinction between her family as white Creoles and incoming planters like Mason. (See:  Social / political context > Creole identity and language)

Investigating part one, section 5

  • There is further gossip in this section.
    • What more do we learn about what the local white people think?
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