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Wide Sargasso Sea

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 4

'He has no right to that name,' she said quickly. 'His real name, if he has one, is Daniel Boyd. He hates all white people, but he hates me the most. He tells lies about us and he is sure that you will believe him and not listen to the other side.'
   'Is there another side?' I said.
   'There is always the other side, always.'

When Rochester approaches his wife with Daniel Cosway's sensational reports, Antoinette attempts to plead her case, arguing that she and her family have been unfairly persecuted and unjustly defamed. She responds to Rochester's unflattering insinuations by debunking Daniel's dubious credibility and exposing his ulterior motivations. Urging her husband to weigh the evidence with objective fairness, Antoinette points to Daniel's half-caste status and illegitimate birth as cause for his venomous accusations. Claiming that her half-brother has "no right to that name," Antoinette raises the important issue of naming and identity—an issue that pervades her story and spells out her tragedy. As Antoinette seeks to define herself, to find her "real name," she discovers that she is, in a sense, nameless—a girl whose mother rejects her and whose peers deride her. In the convent, the young Antoinette was preoccupied with the appearance of her own name and sought to make herself visible when she stitched on a cloth, "Antoinette Mason, nee Cosway." Given by men, her father and stepfather, Antoinette's names signal patriarchy and a changing of hands. As she searches for her own "real name," Antoinette suffers the indignity of others' naming: she is called, in turn, "the white cockroach," "Bertha," and "Marionette."

Confronted with Rochester's accusations, Antoinette reminds him to consider "the other side," asking him to listen to her own story, though he refuses. She offers to tell Rochester the truth about her mother, but he clings obstinately to Daniel's exaggerated tales and to the belief that he has been intentionally deceived. When Antoinette assures her husband that there is always another side, she speaks to the very cause of Rhys's feminist and postcolonial rewriting. As a book that adopts the perspective of a marginalized and exoticized literary figure, Wide Sargasso Sea promotes an awareness of other versions.