Wide Sargasso Sea

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Wide Sargasso Sea Summary Wide Sargasso Sea begins in Jamaica after the Emancipation Act of 1833, under which Britain outlawed slavery in all its colonies. The first part of the novella is told from the point-of-view of Antoinette Cosway, a young white girl whose father, a hated former slaveholder, has died and left his wife and children in poverty. The family's estate, Coulibri, is quickly falling into ruin, and Antoinette's mother, Annette, is rapidly sinking into a deep depression. Since her mother frequently rejects her, Antoinette spends most of her time alone or with her black nurse, Christophine, one of the few servants who has not chosen to desert the struggling family. One day, for the first time in a long time, visitors come to Coulibri. One of these men, an Englishman by the name of Mr. Mason, proposes to Annette after a short courtship. She accepts, and the two wed in spite of the malicious gossip of the servants and local islanders. For a while things seem to be improving for the Cosways: Mr. Mason uses his wealth to restore the crumbling Coulibri plantation, and this in turn seems to improve Annette's mental state. Still, Antoinette's mother repeatedly expresses a desperate wish to leave Jamaica. She is acutely aware of the fact that the freed blacks still harbor immense hatred toward the white aristocracy that enslaved them. Mr. Mason, however, fails to realize how dire the situation has become. One night, a mob sets the house on fire, and the family is forced to flee forever. Antoinette wakes up several weeks later at the home of her Aunt Cora in Spanish Town. She learns that her brother has died and that her mother has had a mental breakdown. Aunt Cora enrolls Antoinette in a convent school, where she spends several years learning how to be a lady. During this time Antoinette is largely alone; her mother is confined to the home of a care-taking

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