Wide Sargasso Sea Analysis

Decent Essays
In Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys, culture causes belonging as well as insecurity. In this novel, characters from the Caribbean and England are put side by side to highlight how strong cultures affect those without one. Christophine and R hold strong ties to their identities through their ethnic background, while Antionette is left wondering, “‘who I am and where is my country and where do I belong’” (61). Rhys uses the binary opposition of these two contrasting characters to convey that people rely on their cultures for their identity and because of this, those who do not fit into a certain group have trouble defining themselves.

Christophine, a former slave and servant to Antionette’s family, relies on her Afro-Caribbean roots to dictate her beliefs and shape her as a person. When Antionette wants Christophine to help her using obeah, Christophine tells Antionette that obeah “is not for béké”, using the word béké, a slang term for a white person (68). Through this, Christophine separates herself from Antionette and defines herself through her ethnic background. Although she is very close to Antionette, Christophine clearly identifies with a different culture and therefore there is a distance between them that cannot be removed. This culture is one that she identifies so strongly with that she will risk being caught and thrown in jail for her beliefs. It is revealed by Daniel Cosway that Christophine was put in jail for practicing obeah but she continues to practice this
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