“she did not answer, only fought him silently twisting like a cat and showing her teeth”
"The man said 'so black and white, they burn the same, eh?'"
Characterisation of Amelie‘A little half-caste servant... She was laughing at me I could see. A lovely little creature but sly, spiteful, malignant...’Repetition of the fact that her frame is ‘little’ highlights the male fascination with the petite female body. Furthermore it is the first thing he notices about her appearance followed by her race, referred to as ‘half caste’, a highly offensive and naive racial term. Rochester’s initial focus upon the race of the female characters is apparent throughout his narrative, later demonstrated through his description of the cousins, ‘They all looked the same.’ Rochester description of Amelie as a ‘creature’, could demonstrate her beauty is immortal, nevertheless a more credible interpretation is the idea that her race make her inferior to him and altogether makes her inferior to the human kind.Robyn x
“These were all the people in my life-my mother and Pierre, Christophine, Godfrey, and Sass who had left us.” The inclusion of the character Sass, who has left Antoinette, adds emphasis to the prevailing sense of abandonment. Perhaps Rhys alludes to Antoinette’s feeling of insecurity and irrational temperament in “Who had left us”.
“Long dark alien eyes. Creole of pure English descent she may be, but they are not English or European either.”This quote shows not only Rochester’s but also contemporary attitudes towards race with that fact that he points out that “they are not” which makes it sound as if Rochester sees this as a negative. Also the use of the word “alien” structurally corresponds to this sense of her not being "European"
‘And God who is indeed mysterious, who had made no sign when they burned Pierre as he slept-not a clap of thunder, not a flash of lightening- mysterious God heard Mr Mason at once and answered him. The yells stopped.’This quote shows a religion of Christianity, the idea of belief. This shows Antoinette as a character has to believe in something to feel safe and secure. Idealising God as being above all, shows he is the social hierarchy. The death of Pierre is shown as a sacrifice through the word ‘burned’ it shows a horrific murder. The theme of freedom is created in which entrapment is shown as Pierre is in his cribs, behind bars it shows he cannot escape. It shows the alienation of the family in which race and social divine in presenting them as victims. The idea of feeling powerless is shown until she believes God has given them power, the strength to get free and escape. Camz
‘I heard a noise as though a chair had fallen over in the little room, then I got up and dressed.’ The childlike narrative of comparing the noise to as ‘though a chair had fallen over’ shows her attempts to try and fit the scenario to what she knows, this further showing her limited knowledge – as she is only a child – in that the only thing she has to compare the noise with is a chair. This is reflected in her reference to ‘the little room’ as though the reader knows exactly what this place is, like another person might refer to a city or country, showing her lack of thought into other places as her life has been limited to Coulibri and their house there. In her childlike way almost assuming the rest of the world has had an experience of life that matches her own, as she has never known any different. The way she ‘lay there’ after being commanded to get up shows her trying to ignore the situation – as she did when she found the dead horse – as if she doesn’t acknowledge it she won’t have to deal with the situation. Her ‘then I got up and dressed’ shows the hierarchy in the child and parent relationship in that despite her fear she follows her mother’s orders, or perhaps because of her increase in fear with the ‘noise’. Her bed also represents a place of security and safety, the fact she has to leave it showing her change from a life of relative safety to something other. KT
“They hated us. They called us white cockroaches. Let sleeping dogs lie. One day a little girl followed me singing “go away white cockroach, go away, go away”.”This quote demonstrates the hostility felt from the blacks after the emancipation act was passed. Here, Antoinette, although still a child is exposed to open threats and abuse of the areas black community. “white cockroach” indicates the animalistic and primitive views of black people, with the specification of “white” showing racial hatred. One could argue that the little girl is implying that she is trying to fit into a higher social class, but she is still a lowly repulsive creature, a “cockroach.”
‘We stared at each other, blood on my face, tears on hers. It was as if I saw myself. Like in a looking glass.’ – Part 1, page 25This quote highlights the cultural division between Antoinette and Tia. Although Antoinette is the one that is hurt, it is Tia that is crying, not Antoinette. This suggests that Tia has no choice in the matter and highlights her vulnerability and entrapment. Antoinette’s hopes of re-igniting their friendship after the fire are shattered by Tia’s rock and it brings her to the stark realisation that she is not wanted – a theme that runs continuously throughout the novel. JK
‘She never blinks at all it seems to me,’ structurally creates a theme of eyes throughout the novel. The concept of eyes being the window to the soul reveals aspects about the characters, and here Antoinette comes across as unnatural even snake-like (as snakes do not blink). This is reiterated in her ‘alien eyes,’ showing her exclusion from society, and the in them being ‘long sad [and] dark’ her isolation is portrayed.
“A large table covered with a red fringed cloth made the small room seem hotter; the only window was shut.” This cloth is symbolic of the character of Antoinette, as she is used to garnish the Englishman - like an object. The ‘fringed’ fabric could show their unravelling relationship and also her frayed mental state. Making the ‘room seem hotter’ is indicative of her madness, which causes un-comfortableness like the fires causes un-comfortableness within the structure of the novel. The significance of the ‘shut’ ‘window’ adds to a sense of isolation that Antoinette feels – also the imprisonment of her marriage.