Part one, section 6

Wide Sargasso Sea pages 14 - 16: The appearance of the Coulibri estate ... Annette's desire to leave

Synopsis of part one, section 6

After a brief stay with her Aunt Cora, Antoinette returns to a changed Coulibri. Mason's money has been used to repair the house and estate, employ new servants and make the family comfortable.

Antoinette is aware that most of the black people on the estate hate them. Annette too feels a growing sense of unease; being richer does not make them safe. She tries to persuade Mason to take them all away from Coulibri but he refuses to listen to her.

Commentary on part one, section 6

  • Christophine is a Roman Catholic. The Holy Family is depicted as Jesus Christ as a baby with his mother Mary and her husband Joseph. This image is pinned up inside her house along with the text of a prayer. Christophine's Catholicism distinguishes her from the black people around her because they are Protestants and probably nonconformists. (See:  Religious / philosophical context > Religion)
  • The dilapidated press is an old cupboard or wardrobe.
  • Ritual sacrifice of animals and birds was practised in obeah but when Antoinette mentions the dead cockerel and withered hand she is adding in what she has overheard from white people about witchcraft. (See:  Religious / philosophical context > Religion > Obeah)
  • Annette advises Mason to employ an agent to manage the estate in his absence.
  • Mason has evidently bought up failing estates in Trinidad and Antigua (other parts of the West Indies). Antigua had become a British colony late in the seventeenth century.

Investigating part one, section 6

  • Consider the differences between Mr Mason's view of black people and that shown by Antoinette and her mother
    • Why do Mr Mason's view of black people and that shown by Antoinette and her mother differ?
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