Mr. Mason is a wealthy Englishman who arrives in Jamaica with the intent of expanding his holdings by marrying Annette Cosway, the widow of the once-powerful plantation owner Alexander Cosway. Desperate for support amid Coulibri’s downfall, Annette and her two young children initially welcome his presence due to his ability to pull them out of poverty. The Black Jamaicans who live and work around the estate, however, see his arrival as a threat. They fear the return of an oppressive culture, and Mr. Mason’s identity as an influential white man makes him a prime target for their retaliation. His displays of wealth and the potential consequences that come along with them even begin to turn both Annette and Antoinette against him as it puts them in an increasingly precarious social position. Despite all of the resistance that he receives from those around him at Coulibri, Mr. Mason remains entirely oblivious to the negative impact that his actions have. The sense of superiority he derives from his gender, his race, and his economic status ultimately becomes his downfall as the fire at Coulibri destroys both his property and his relationship. 

With his hubris and influential power, Mr. Mason’s character serves as an embodiment of colonial values and practices. He finds the economic possibilities of Jamaica alluring, and he promptly puts himself in a position of authority upon arriving, despite the fact that he has very little local knowledge. This lack of understanding becomes clear as Annette repeatedly attempts to explain that many of the locals detest the Cosway family because of their status as former slave owners. So certain of his purpose and ability to control the world around him, Mr. Mason ignores her warnings completely and, by restoring Coulibri, attempts to assert his way of life over others. This behavior reflects the broader impact of colonial powers, such as England, who imposed their own cultures and practices onto unsuspecting communities for financial gain. Mr. Mason’s assumptions that the Black Jamaicans are “too damn lazy to be dangerous” also emphasizes the demeaning nature of colonialism, a view which he refuses to let go of even as they actively burn Coulibri to the ground. This loss of property, along with his wife’s descent into madness, hints at the consequences of Mr. Mason’s unwavering sense of superiority. Through his character, Rhys seems to suggest that colonial pursuits are inherently futile as they can only end in disaster.