Part two, section 7

Wide Sargasso Sea Pages 54 - 59: Sunset ... Puddles in the soil

Synopsis of part two, section 7

Rochester's confused state of mind continues as he tries to cope with the contradictory effects of:

  • Attraction to a wild, sensuous landscape, yet awareness that there are secrets around him in both landscape and people
  • His passion for Antoinette, yet his persistent feeling that they are strangers to each other.

Rochester remains suspicious about Antoinette and the other people on the estate. Despite this, the fragments of their conversations recalled by Rochester show a deepening relationship and their shared sexual passion. He admits that he desired her but recognised that this wasn't true love. Under this influence, Rochester's unease and suspicion begin to lessen.

Commentary on part two, section 7

Thatched hut, photo by Kevin Cure, available through Creative Commons

  • Ajoupa is a Carib word for a thatched hut. The way that words and their origins are used to signify history and culture is shown in Rochester's correction to an English word for a similar thing, summer house.
  • Rochester description of the fiery looking scene links in with his description of the West Indies in Jane Eyre.
  • A hermit is someone who lives a solitary life, often for religious or spiritual reasons
  • Mentioned in a phrase from a Creole song often sung when leaving the island of Martinique:
    • Foulard is both a fine silk fabric and also the name for a silk scarf worn over a dress as part of the national costume of Martinique and Dominica
    • Madras is a cotton fabric of Indian origin and is also the name given to a cotton scarf worn around the head.
  • Antoinette's haunting Creole song is about a beautiful girl who asks her mother why flowers die so soon. The tone of the song suggests affinities with the poem quoted earlier.
  • Antoinette's frequent ‘dying' is here a metaphor for sexual orgasm or climax.
  • There is an unspecified threat of violence associated with the couple's love-making which hints that Antoinette came close to actual death.

Investigating part two, section 7

  • Make a list of words and phrases in this section which refer to:
    • Hurt, threat, violence
    • Endings and death
    • Isolation
  • How do ideas of hurt, threat, violence, endings, death and isolation relate to
    • The relationship between Antoinette and Rochester?
    • The way he relationship between Antoinette and Rochester develops in this section?
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