Part two, section 10

Wide Sargasso Sea pages 65 - 67: Everything completed ... The soothing calls of women

Synopsis of part two, section 10

Waking from his siesta, Rochester takes a walk in the forest, thinking of the Caribbean forestgossip around Antoinette and her mother. He feels that everyone knew but him and that no one will tell him the truth. He is aware of an atmosphere of sinister threat, of being watched.

Rochester then finds the traces of a paved road and the ruins of a house and garden. Within the ruined garden he feels calm and peaceful and falls asleep. Waking much later, he is seen by a little girl who runs from him in terror.

In trying to make his way home he gets lost and, after wandering for some time, is found by Bapiste. When he asks about the road, Baptiste denies it exists. Rochester senses a hidden world and more secrets.

Commentary on part two, section 10 

  • The small bouquets Rochester notices are offerings to the spirits in the place.
  • Judith Raiskin, in the Norton edition of Wide Sargasso Sea, traces the reference to Père Lilièvre to a legend about a French priest, Père Labat who arrived in Martinique in 1693. He also visited Dominica. Labat was a fierce opponent of obeah (See:  Religious / philosophical context > Religion > Obeah) and tried to stamp it out with cruelty and oppression. A legend developed that his guilty spirit wanders around the forests and is not to be named.
  • It is likely that The Glittering Coronet of Isles is the title of a travel book about the West Indies.
  • A zombie was believed to be one of the living dead or a person whose spirit has been stolen by witchcraft. (See:  Religious / philosophical context > Religion > Zombies)

Investigating part two, section 10

  • Rochester gets lost in the forest
    • What does he find there?
    • How would you describe his state of mind?
    • In what sense might he too be a ‘zombie'?
  • Why does Baptiste deny the existence of the road, and the little girl scream, do you think?
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