Part two, section 18

Wide Sargasso Sea pages 106 - 107: Watching the scenery ... The lack of sunshine

Synopsis of part two, section 18

As they prepare to leave Granbois, Rochester watches the landscape and thinks of his relationship with Antoinette. The narration is fragmented and incoherent, representing an intensely troubled mental state, full of tensions and contradictions. He intends to revenge himself cruelly on Antoinette and yet there are also passages where he reveals a continuing tenderness for her.

Commentary on part two, section 18

Oleander, photo by Neo Scholar, available through Creative Commons

  • Oleanders are flowering evergreen shrubs which are poisonous.
  • In the Caribbean the hurricane season is August to October. Rochester also uses the hurricane as a metaphor for his own feelings.
  • Rochester's quotation from Shakespeare's play MacbethPity like a new-born babe striding the blast' (Act I, sc 7, l.21-22) is part of his self-pitying reflections. However, there are deeper meanings. The line comes from a speech in which Macbeth is trying to convince himself to murder the King of Scotland.
  • Throughout the section, Christophine's words about Antoinette's love for him echo in Rochester's head.

Investigating part two, section 18

  • Re-read this short section
    • Could you describe Rochester as ‘mad'?
    • Can you see connections between Rochester's state of mind and the natural
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