Wide Sargasso Sea | Study Guide

Jean Rhys

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Wide Sargasso Sea | Part 2 (Poor Me) | Summary

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Summary

Rochester looks out at the landscape, of which he says he will never see lovelier, and comments on the weather—the hurricane season is approaching. Currently it is cool and grey like an English summer.

Rochester feels pity for himself and wonders if anyone else pities him for being "tied to a ... drunken lying lunatic—gone her mother's way." In his mind Rochester replays part of the conversation he had with Christophine. He believes Antoinette is incapable of truly loving and hopes she will show some emotion. He will then take her in his arms, because she is "My lunatic. My mad girl."

Analysis

Rochester compares his feelings and emotions to nature. His revenge will be like a hurricane that uproots and destroys whatever is in its path. With Antoinette in a stupor, he has already destroyed her and soon she will be uprooted, as Rochester plans to take her to England. Rochester acts drunk with power as he talks about his ability to control Antoinette, yet he wants pity from others. However, Rochester has become an angry and mean bully. His anger goes beyond his marriage and Antoinette as he declares he now hates music and poetry.

Rochester believes he is protecting himself and Antoinette. He has been wronged and is saddled with the burden of caring for a lunatic whom he also sees as a drunk and a whore, despite the fact that her behavior mirrors his own. He will take away her instrument—the mirror—and make sure she never dresses or smiles at herself again. Still, Rochester manages to make himself feel good about his decision because he claims to be protecting her, his lunatic. In this posture Rochester most obviously represents the dysfunctional relationship between European colonizers and the colonies they control.

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