Part three, section 3

Wide Sargasso Sea pages 116 - 118: An inaccessible window ... The unreality of England

Synopsis of part three, section 3

Grace Poole evidently drinks and while she sleeps it off, Antoinette is able to steal her keys and walk about freely in the house. Bertha in Jane Eyre does the same.

Commentary on part three, section 3

  • In old houses beds were sometimes built into the wall and had doors like a cupboard. These doors have been taken off so that Antoinette can be seen at all times.Charlemagne tapestry
  • Antoinette's state of mind causes her to see things that aren't there, such as Annette. Tapestries often depicted historical or mythical scenes and were used as wall hangings
  • Names and identity are closely bound together. ‘Grace' seems inappropriate for a drunk jailer because the term is closely associated with mercy (particularly the undeserved mercy of God given to sinners). It also has a wider meaning, signifying the blessing or favour of God.
  • Antoinette's reference to whispering relates back to the episode of the fire at Coulibri.
  • In contrast to Rochester's dazed impression of vivid Caribbean colours, Antoinette notices the absence of this in cardboard-like England.

Investigating part three, section 3

  • Re-read the paragraph about the looking glass:
    • Can you see any way in which this develops our ideas about Antoinette and her identity?
    • Can you connect this to Antoinette's concern about her name?
  • What do we learn about the incident on the ship?
  • What does Antoinette mean by describing the house as like cardboard?
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