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Study Guide: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jane Rhys - Free BookNotes

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The man watched the weather change as hurricane season approached. It was misty and cloudy, more like England. He wondered if anyone pitied him for marrying Antoinette, for being “tied to a lunatic for life.” He is determined to control her by taking her away from the place she loved. She would be his mad girl.


In this brief section the man is visualizing England, removing the tropical elements that he loathed from the landscape. He is feeling in control of both nature and Antoinette. He will break her as the hurricane wind breaks a tree.



On the day they left, Antoinette was expressionless. Her husband waited for her to cry, to show some of her passion or emotion. She stared at the sea. He felt melancholy leaving Granbois and even asked Antoinette to forgive him. But when he saw the hatred in her eyes his own hatred returned. He stared at her to force the appearance of hatred and her beauty to disappear.

One of the boys that was helping to carry the baskets began to cry suddenly. The man was angry and asked what was wrong. No one would respond. Antoinette followed him and told him, in an emotionless voice he barely recognized, that when they had first arrived at Granbois she had promised the boy that her husband would take him along when they left. The man was inflamed that Antoinette spoke in his name. Antoinette apologized and returned the indifferent look to her face. He was convinced by her expression that she was mad. He was eager to get to England and lock her away.


Antoinette has become zombie-like, as alluded to in Section Four. Her husband’s thoughts and actions have taken her spirit away. Taking her away from her home breaks the last of her being.

The man’s coldness is underscored by his reaction to the crying boy. He refuses to bring him along or to communicate with him. He looks with disdain on the boy’s show of emotion.

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Wide Sargasso Sea by Jane Rhys: Free BookNotes Summary

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