Character Sketch

One Hundred Years Of Solitude

One Hundred Years Of Solitude Summary, Analysis & Themes

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Godan By Munsi Premchand

Godan By Munsi Premchand | Godan Themes, Summary & Character Sketch

Character Sketch

Summary Of Godan

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Role Of Shakuntala In Abhijnanashakuntalam

Role of Shakuntala In Kalidasa’s Abhijnanashakuntalam | Character Sketch of Shakuntala


            “Shakuntala”, the heroine of Kalidasa ‘Abhijnanashakuntalam’ is one of the most powerful and admirable Characters. She has all the essential qualities that a heroine should have. She has been presented as an ideal woman like Savitri and Sati. Kalidasa presents Shakuntala as an embodiment of innate Chastity, beauty, grace, Indian womanhood, patience, and Sacrifice. She is simple and innocent. She is also referred to as the ‘Child of Nature’.

About The Birth of Shakuntala

            Shakuntala was born as the daughter of Sage Vishwamitra and an Apsara named Menka. But soon after being abandoned by her mother, she is looked after by ‘Shakunta’ birds. Sage Kanva finds her in the protection of the birds. Later Shakuntala lives in the hermitage of Sage Kanva.

Shakuntala as a Child of Nature

            Shakuntala is a woman rooted in nature, she lives amidst the beautiful greenery and tends to the animals and plants in the hermitage. She waters, the plants along with her two best friends Priyamvada and Ansuya. She derives patience and Tolerance from nature. The entire hermitage feels sorrowful at her departure. The deer have left grazing grass and Peacocks stop dancing.

About The Beauty Of Shakuntala

            Shakuntala is so beautiful that Dusyanta at first sight is attracted to her. He hides himself behind trees to enjoy the sweetness of her voice. He is so impressed by her beauty that he exclaims:

“A flower no one has smelled
a bud no fingers have plucked
an uncut jewel, honey untested
unbroken fruits of holy deeds
I don’t know who is destined
to enjoy her flawless beauty.

Shakuntala As A Devoted Wife

            Kalidasa in his play gives a heart-moving picture of a devoted wife. She is pining for separation. Though she is the daughter of an Apsara she does not keep any other person in mind except Dushyanta. She is an ideal wife.

Shakuntala’s Patience, Self-respect And Dignity

            Shakuntala is Captivated by King Dushyanta’s presence and feels attracted to him. When she learns that the king has similar feelings for her too, they marry in the forest itself. Soon Dushyant returns to the capital, leaving Shakuntala alone in the forest. This is the time to test her patience.

            Shakuntala gets distracted from worldly affairs and devotes her time to the thoughts of her husband. Shakuntala is completely smitten with love and fails to attend to sage Durvasa. As a result, she incurs a curse, which takes away Dushyanta’s memory of their marriage.

            Later, Dushyanta refuses to accept her as his wife under the curse’s influence. Her bold character is prevalent in this scene. When the high priest offers her to stay in the palace until her child is born, she refuses the offer. This shows her self-respect and dignity, where she doesn’t let anyone pity her. Shakuntala might love Dushyanta beyond any limit, but she also knows how to maintain her dignity. She does not beg but rather gives an impassioned and rational speech:

“O great king, even though you do
recognize me, why do you Say I
do not know you? You speak
Thus carelessly as another
lowborn villain might speak.”

            Years later when Dushyanta gets back his memory of Shakuntala he breaks down in guilt. He begs her to forgive him and return with him. Shakuntala then forgives Dushyanta for every pain he caused her. It is said that forgiveness is like an act of Bravery and Shakuntala proves it.


            Thus “Shakuntala” plays a significant role in Kalidasa’sAbhijnanashakuntalam’ play. She portrays the role of common women in society who are often crushed by the patriarchy. Her life has been a pathetic one, but it only made her stronger. Shakuntala gradually developed from being an innocent young maiden to a bold and dignified woman.

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The Good Woman of Setzuan

The Good Woman Of Setzuan Summary & Analysis

The Good Woman of Setzuan
The Good Woman of Setzuan


            ‘The Good Woman Of Setzuan’ or ‘The Good Woman of Szechwan’ is a play written by ‘Bertolt Brecht’, in collaboration with ‘Margarete Steffin’ and ‘Ruth Berlau’. It was written between 1938 to 1941 when Brecht was living in exile in the United state due to Nazi rule and World War II. It is an example of a non-Aristotelian drama, a form made popular by Brecht and defined in his notes and essays entitled ‘On a non-Aristotelian drama’. The original name of the play was ‘Die Walare Liebe’ Brecht dedicated the play to his wife, ‘Helene Weigel’.

            The play’s title is often translated as ‘The Good Woman of Szechwan’, rather than “Setzuan”, but Szechwan is a province, while Setzuan is a city. According to translator ‘Eric Bentley’, Brecht identified the location of the play as ‘a city’, so he must have meant Setzuan.

Character List

Wong – A water seller. He interacts with the gods in dreams.

Three Gods – Three Gods arrive at the city of Setzuan, looking for a good person.

Shen Te/Shui Ta – Shen Te is a former prostitute who has bought a tobacco shop with the money the gods gave her after she let them spend the night in her home. Shen Te invents a male Shui Ta, her supposed visiting cousin.

Mrs. Shin – Former owner of Shen Te’s tobacco shop.

Yang Sun – An unemployed pilot with whom Shen Te falls in love.

Mr. Shu Fu – A barber who wants to marry Shen Te.

Unemployed Man, Carpenter Mrs. Mi Tzu, Policeman, Old Man, Old Woman, Mrs. Yang are some other characters in this play.

About The Author

            As we know the play was written by Bertolt Brecht in collaboration with Margarette Steffin and Ruth Berlau. Brecht was one of the most influential playwrights of the 20th century. He also wrote a wide variety of people. His works include- ‘The Three Penny Opera’, ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’, ‘Life of Galileo’, and ‘The Good Person of Szechwan’.

            Steffin was a German actress writer and translator and Brecht’s secretary. Berlau was a Danish actress, writer, photographer and director. Both women were Brecht’s lovers.

Character Sketch of “Shen Te”

            ‘Shen Te’ is the central character around which Bertolt Brecht’s epic play ‘The Good Woman of Setzuan’ is written. Bertolt Brecht was a master of characterization in his works. He believed that theatre should be a tool for social change and that characters should be used to challenge the audience’s assumptions about the world.

            ‘Shen Te’ is a female character who disguises herself during half of the pla Shui Ta, a male. Through this character. Brecht presents his most famous dramatic technique of split personality that becomes a medium to represent conflict, morality, and reality. Thus the split character to Shen Te and Shui Ta serve as a model to explain Brecht’s themes of social injustices.

            Shen Te is introduced as a “good Woman” who is a prostitute by profession. The conflict begins from this moment as the playwright shows an individual can retain good moralities even after beginning in a socially unapproved profession. Shen Te is generous, kind, and helpful to everyone irrespective of class or creed. When the gods stay at her place, their faith is restored in humanity. But at the same time, the Gods don’t want others to know that they stayed in a prostitute’s room, as the ‘Incident is open to misinterpretations’.

            Through Shen Te/ Shui Ta, Brecht has made a ‘division within the same person’ of humane Vs inhumane and kind vs. cruel. The play is of ‘disguise’ survival and self-improvement and Shen Te has to pass through a journey of ups and downs throughout the play. She tries to retain her goodness while

  1. Helping her neighbour
  2. Helping her lover, and
  3. Protecting her son from the cruel world.

            But because people take advantage of her good nature, she has to create an alter ego of Shui Ta. The two characters are completely different yet help each other through various events.

            Shen Te takes multiple roles in the play. She is a prostitute, a shopkeeper, a lover, and a mother. In every role, Shen Te is required to have a different set of virtues and vices. As a shopkeeper, She must know how to make profits but as a lover, she surrenders herself completely to Yang Sun. Later one, as a mother she wants to become feracious to ensure her child’s happiness. All her weaknesses as a woman get covered when she turns into Shui Ta. Her pity generosity, love, and passion, take a backseat, and Shui Ta’s pragmatism leads her life.

            As Shui Ta, ‘The Good Woman of Setzuan’ becomes rough and Strict. Shui Ta is only concerned about his profits and gains. He does not care about people and circumstances. He is firm and stern is his decisions. He helps in making Shen Te’s small tobacco shop into a big profit-making factory. This indirectly helps the people of the city in getting jobs. Hence Shen Te is able to continue her charity only through the materialistic gains created by Shui Ta. Though both are absolutely different from one another, they help each other sustain in the world.

            Brecht shows that if circumstances allow, every individual can be a good person. But it is the surroundings that forces people to take up bad attributes. Shen Te was innately a good human being but she had to take up many vices in order to sustain her life in the world. This is why, in the end, the gods do not punish Shen Te. They praise ‘the good woman of Setzuan’ and leave for the heavens after learning about the truth of Shui Ta. Shen Te is not a heroic character but neither Shui Ta is a villain.

             Brecht presents the story of every human being through the struggle of Shen Te. The playwright shows that people are capable of being good and doing good. If the Situations can be altered, if the world can be made into a better place, every person can become good and kind.

Justification Of The Title ‘The Good Woman Of Setzuan’

          The title of the drama ‘The Good Woman Setzuan’ is very suggestive as it clearly speaks of the theme of goodness from the beginning of the play, the theme of goodness comes out with God’s definition of who a good person is. According to the gods, a good person is one who lives a life that is worthy of human beings. Three gods come to the earth is search of a good person.

After a lot of wandering, they find only greed, evil, dishonesty and selfishness. Finally, they find some goodness in Shen Te, a young prostitute of Setzuan. She is rewarded for her hospitality, as gods take it as a sure sign of goodness. They reward her with a thousand dollars.

            According to the gods, goodness cannot survive long if there is no demand for it. They mean to say that it is difficult for a human to achieve goodness without support from other people. Shen Te buys a small tobacco shop with the gifts of the gods. She hopes to help others through the shop by spending profits on such things as food for the hungry.

But most of the people she is trying to help take advantage of her generosity. They want food money, shelter, and constant service. Shui Ta discovers that it is difficult to succeed at being a good person under these frustrating conditions. So she creates an alter ego to help her keep her shop. The helper is her male cousin Shui Ta. Eventually, she realizes that she can not survive without him.

In the drama ‘The Good Woman Of Setzuan’ there is another instance of goodness. Shen Te meets a young pilot in a public park and promises to help him in getting his job. They fall in love with each other. Later on, she employs Yong Sun as a foreman in her factory because she has failed to help him with enough money to get his job.

            In the drama, there is also one instance of goodness when Shen Te offers the Old woman money to pay her rent. Shen Te’s perception of goodness changes during pregnancy, further highlighting the theme of goodness. When she sees the Carpenter’s child digging in the trash. She vows that she will be good to her son and a tigress to others. She says,

            ‘To be good to you, my son I shall be tigress to all others
             If I have to do, and I shall have to.’

            Despite Shen Te staying good, Wong’s hole helps to cast doubt on her good image. After the revelation by Shen Te in the court, that she was also Shuii Ta, the gods could not believe that she did bad things. The first, in particular, insists on congratulating her for remaining good. After the Gods leave, Shen Te remains with her problems and still struggles to achieve goodness.

            Thus we find that The title of the drama ‘The Good Woman of Setzuan’ is very suitable as it clearly speaks of the idea of goodness as the primary theme. Other themes of the play include the ideas of economic strain, money-driven economic strain, money-driven despair, wealth and poverty, reform, and deception.

Summary of The Drama

          The play starts with Wong, a water seller, explaining that he is on the city outskirts awaiting the foretold appearance of several important gods. Soon the gods arrive and ask Wong to find them shelter for the night. They are tired, having traveled far and wide in search of good people who still live according to the principles that they, the gods have handed down.

Instead, they have found only greed, evil dishonesty, and selfishness. Wong tries to find someone who will shelter the gods for the evening, but they are turned away at every door in town. Eventually, a kind prostitute named ‘Shen Te’ agrees to take the gods in. In the morning gods thank Shan Te, for the hospitality and they tell her that she is the only “good human being”. The gods shove over a thousand silver dollars into Shen Te’s hand and they depart.

            Shen Te uses the money the gods give her to rent a tobacco shop but she soon finds herself in trouble as news of her good fortune spreads throughout town. ‘Mrs. Shin’, the former proprietor of the store, the carpenter, and An unemployed man, everyone asks for something according to their needs from Shen Te. ‘Mrs. Mi Tzu’, the landlady, demands male references who can vouch for Shen Te’s finances as well as six-month rent in advance. Shen Te claims she has a cousin, Shui Ta, who is a savvy businessman. She promises that Shui Ta will visit soon to meet with Mrs. Mi Tzu and vouch for Shen Te.

            The gods continually visit Wong in his dreams to check in on whether Shen Te has remained good. Things get more and more complicated for Shen Te. Shen Te begins disguising herself as “Shui Ta” in order to make the ruthless business.

Shen Te, dressed as Shui Ta, kicks the family of eight out during business hours, threatens the carpenter, haggles with Mrs. Mi Tzu, and even puts an ad in the paper for a wealthy husband who can help Shen Te run her business. When Shen Te meets a pilot named Yand Sun is poor and cruel, Shen Te loves him too deeply. Shen learns that Yang Sun is only using her for her money. She falls pregnant with his child.

            Meanwhile, each time the gods visit Wong in his dreams, he tells them of Shen Te’s trials, but the gods insist that Shan Te’s burdens will only give her greater strength and more goodness. Shen Te decides to stay in disguise as Shui Ta.

            Though the tobacco of the village begins missing the sweet, generous Shen Te – and even worrying that Shui Ta has murdered her. When a policeman confronts Shui Ta and demands to know where Shen Te is, Shui Ta cannot answer. He is arrested. He is taken to court. During the process of her trail the gods enter in disguise as a trio of judges to hear the arguments. Shui Ta demands for the courtroom to be cleared because he has a Confession to make to the judges.

            Alone in the room with the gods, Shen Te drops her disguise and she reveals the truth to them. The gods are shocked. In a sorrowful lament, Shen Te describes how hard it has been to try “to be good and Yet to live”. Shen Te points out that she failed to be a good woman and instead became a “bad man”. She begs the gods to tell her what to do about all of her entanglements the gods however, tell her simply to ‘continue to be good’.


            Thus it is clear that like most of Brecht’s plays, his Marxist ideals heavily influenced “The Good Woman of Setzuan”. It questions whether it is possible to survive as a reasonable person in a capitalist society. Through this play, Brecht illustrated the difficulty of being good and staying good in any society. It represents the class struggle between the bourgeois and the working class, the struggle between good and evil, or the conflict between and women.

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Wide Sargasso Sea By Jean Rhys

Wide Sargasso Sea Summary | Wide Sargasso Sea Character Sketch

Wide Sargasso Sea By Jean Rhys
Wide Sargasso Sea By Jean Rhys


          Wide Sargasso Sea is a novel by Dominican British author Jean Rhys. It is a story of Antoinette Cosway and her descent into madness at the hands of the cold-hearted and money-hungry Mr. Rochester. It was first published in 1966 and the novel is divided into three parts. Adapted from Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” Rhys wrote Wide Sargasso Sea in an attempt to explain Brote’s character, Berth Mason,  the violently insane wife of Edward Rochester who was isolated from the rest of the world and locked in a third-floor room. In this novel, Rhys illustrates the emotional trauma, Sexual repression, and social isolation that Antoinette faces at the hand of Rochester resulting in the loss of herself and her sanity.

About Jean Rhys

            Jean Rhys was a British writer born and raised on the Caribbean island of Dominica. She is best known for her last novel ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ considered a prequel and post-colonial response to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Among her world-famous works included – The Left Bank and Other Stories, Quartet, Voyage in The Dark, Good Morning, Midnight, Tiger Are Better Looking, and Wide Sargasso sea.

Character Sketch Of Wide Sargasso Sea

Antoinette Cosway

            The daughter of former slave owners in Jamaica. She is a lonely young girl who grows up with no friends and a mother who giver her very little Affection. Her husband moves her to England and locks her in the attic until she becomes delusional. She is based on the Character Bertha Mason from Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre.

Antoinette Cosway Mason

            Antoinette beautiful young mother. She is the second wife of both Alexander Cosway and Mr. Mason. She is the subject of the town’s gossip and feels abandoned and persecuted by everyone except those close to her.

Pierre Cosway

            Antoinette’s physically and mentally disabled little brother.

The English Gentleman (Rochester)

          Antoinette’s English husband narrated part two of the story. He is pressured into marrying Antoinette by Richard, her stepbrother, though he knows nothing of her or her family. He soon regrets agreeing to marry Antoinette. He has an affair with one of the servants.

Daniel Boyd / Cosway

            A spiteful, angry man, Daniel Boyd is one of Alexander Cosway’s illegitimate children by one of his slaves.

Sandi Cosway

          Another one of Alexander Cosway’s bastard children. He defends Antoinette when she is harassed on her way to school. Daniel also suggests that Antoinette and Sandi were sexually involved when they were younger.

            Aunt Cora, Christophine Dubois, Richard Mason, and Grace Poole are other characters In this novel.

Mr. Mason

A wealthy English man who takes Annette as his second wife.

Post Colonialism In Wide Sargasso Sea

         Post Colonialism means a piece of literature reflecting on the effects of Colonialism. It is the period when the wrath of Colonialism came to an end in most of the colonized countries. It was during that time when many works started getting published by decolonized writers, stating the bittersweet memories of their experiences from the colonial regime. Those piece of literature published after colonial rule is referred to as post-colonial literature. However, in the world of post-colonial literature, the name of British woman writer Jean Rhyn is printed in gold.

            Wide Sargasso Sea is considered as Rhys’s masterpiece contribution to the era of Postcolonial literature. It deals with colonial issues such as identity and social ranking due to colonial hierarchal structures and for that reason, post-colonial criticism is a suitable approach to the novel. As a work of post-colonial fiction, it captures the pathos of a society undergoing deep and bitter change. Rhys chooses to relate the essence of this conflict through the relationship of White Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway and her English suitor Edward Rochester.

            At the Starting of the novel, the Jamaican slaves are portrayed as enraged beings, upset for any reason. Three are traits of hybridity linked to slavery in the novel. For example – Christophine tends to stand apart from the other Jamaican servants because she is initially from the French Caribbean island of Martinique. Therefore, there is a large population who belong to mixed races because white slave owners in the Caribbean and other parts of the colonized countries were infamous for sexually abusing and impregnating female slaves. Sandi and Daniel Cosway, two of Alexander Cosway’s illegitimate children are also examples of hybridity in the colonized communities.

            In the Colonial era, it was common for white rulers to sexually abuse female slaves as there was little to no say for the enslaved. White people looked at the slaves as objects of pleasure, and entertainment and as beings who were only born to serve them. The white exploited their slaves in every possible way.

            In the 19th century when Colonialism was intact, along with slavery and other issues gender issues were nothing new. Rhys also explores women’s subjugation to male authority in Wide Sargasso Sea. In the novel female characters are intruded as feeble beings who are dependent on men for legal, sexual, and financial security.

            The men in the novel “Wide Sargasso Sea” can be categorized as ultimate opportunists who use their wives as a key to access wealth. Both Annette and Antoinette are dependent on men near them like children depending on their parents for things.

Slavery In the Wide Sargasso Sea

         Slavery is a significant aspect of this novel. The story is set in Jamaica during the late 1830s and the 1840s. At this time in history, Jamaica was ruled by England. However, Slavery tends to be a pertinent issue for many countries around the globe. It had been there for centuries but was at a higher degree during the time of Colonialism. People of Inferior races were deemed as slaves and were beaten up for issues that were not necessarily of concern at many times. In the novel there, is a constant rift between the Creoles and the Jamaicans. The Black people continue to serve the Creoles even after the passing of the Emancipation Act in 1833.

            Part one of the novel sheds light on the ex-slaves who had worked on the sugarcane plantations of the rich Creoles. Although the Emancipation Act freed the slaves the servants were still ill-treated by their white employers.

Character Of Rochester

            Antoinette’s English husband who though never named in the novel. He narrates the longest part of the novel and from his story, it quickly becomes clear that he is based on the hero of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Rochester, the youngest son of a wealthy Englishman travels to Jamaica for financial independence, as his older brother will inherit his father’s estate. He is pressured into marrying Antoinette, although he has only just met her and knows nothing of her family.

            Rochester marries Antoinette for a large sum of money but never connects with him. Soon after the wedding, he decides that he has made a terrible mistake, as he comes to believe that he has been tricked into marrying a girl with bad blood in her veins. He is controlling and unfaithful, believing his wife is conspiring against him. He renames Antoinette Bertha in an attempt to dominate her. After witnessing Antoinette’s mental collapse he takes her to English and locks her in the attic of his mansion.

Analysis of The Novel

            The novel is broken up into three parts, the first details Antoinette’s Childhood in Jamaica, the second is about her unhappy marriage to an English gentleman and the decline of her mental state, and the third focuses on her imprisonment in Mr. Rochester’s attic in England.

Part One

            The Novel begins in early 19th-century Jamaica. A young white girl named Antoinette, the daughter of former slave owners, lives on Coulibri Estate, her family’s Rudown plantation with her mother, her sickly younger brother, Pierre. Moneyless due to the Emancipation Act of 1833 which freed the slaves, her father dead and her mother’s mental health steadily declined. Antoinette’s only friend is a young girl named Tia, the daughter of one of the servants, who one day turns against Antoinette unexpectedly.

            One day a group of well-dressed visitors comes to Coulibri. Among them is a wealthy Englishman named Mr. Mason. After a brief courtship, Annette and Mr. Mason are married. Mr. mason restores Coulibri to its former glory and brings in new servants. During a protest their house is set on fire. After the fire Antoinette becomes dangerously ill for weeks.

            Six weeks later Antoinette wakes up and learns that she has been ill since the incident. Cora, tells her that Pierre died and her mother had gone mad following the trauma of that night, so Mr. Mason sent her to the country to recover. Christophine takes Antoinette to visit her mother, but her mother violently flings her away.

            For the next several years, Antoinette lives at the convent school. Mr. Mason visits Antoinette occasionally but always brings her gifts. During this time Antoinette’s mother dies. When Antoinette is seventeen, Mr. Mason decides he will marry her to an English gentleman.

Part Two

         Part two is narrated by Antoinette’s new husband. It begins with their arrival at Granbois, a small estate on one of the Windward Islands owned by Antoinette’s mother where they intend to spend a few weeks for their honeymoon Rochester, who is unnamed in the beginning and only agrees to it because Mr. Mason’s son, Richar Mason offered him 30,000 pounds.

            Soon after Rochester feels uncomfortable with his wife. Antoinette begins to sense that Christophine for help. Christophine tells Antoinette to leave the man, but she refuses. That night, Antoinette returns home and tells her husband about her past. They talk late into the night and when he wakes, he believes he was poisoned. He runs out of the house and into the woods. He sleeps in the wood for several hours and when he wakes again, he returns to Granbois where Amelie, One of the servants, brings him wine and food. He sleeps with Amelie while Antoinette sits in the next room, able to hear everything.

            The next morning, Antoinette goes to Christophine’s home. When she returns, she is drunk. When Antoinette calls for more to drink, her husband refuses to give her the bottle. After this Rochester decides to return to England and take Antoinette with him.

Part Three

            In the third and Final Part, Antoinette is the narrator. In England, she lives locked in the attic under the care of a servant named Grace Poole. Now violent and deranged, Antoinette has lost all sense of time. When her stepbrother Richard comes to see her, she attacks him with recurring dreams of flames burning down the house, and the novel ends as she escapes her prison, holding a candle.


         Thus, Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea depicts many post-colonial yet modern issues that many can relate to. She penned the novel by reconciling the plot with her own experiences. Issues such as slavery male dominance and displacement are still part of our world but at different levels.

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– Varsha Singh

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