Part three, section 4

Wide Sargasso Sea pages 118 - 120: Antoinette aches ... Sense impressions of the West Indies

Synopsis of part three, section 4

Antoinette recalls waking up to find her wrists red and swollen and has to be reminded of Richard Mason's visit by Grace Poole. In Jane Eyre the mad Mrs Rochester attacks him with a knife and he is saved by Rochester himself. In Jean Rhys' story, we learn that Antoinette intended to give him a letter but also how she managed to get hold of a knife. It is evident that she has sometimes been taken outside the house. She asks for her red dress hanging in the wardrobe and it brings back memories.

Commentary on part three, section 4

  • Antoinette's reddened wrists relates to Jane Eyre, chap 20. Richard Mason, Bertha's (step-) brother visits her at Thornfield Hall. She attacks him and is tied up.
  • The girl emerging from her room is one of the guests at Thornfield Hall, possibly Amy or Louisa Eshton.
  • In Jane Eyre, when Jane is first shown around Thornfiled Hall, she queries whether there is a ghost (Jane Eyre > Chapter 11).
  • In Rhys' story Richard Mason was Antoinette's step-brother.
  • The flamboyant or flame tree has scarlet flowers.
  • Antoinette recalls flowers and food associated with the West Indies such as vertivert and limes.

Investigating part three, section 4

  • Why is the red dress important to Antoinette?
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