1. Identity is one of the themes in the novel. Discuss how it is presented in relation to Antoinette's and Rochester's characters.
Firstly, let's start it by making comparison between the characteristics of Antoinette and Rochester by making similarities and differences. For the similarities we can see it from their outward appearance, Rochester and Antoinette are both have white skin colour, both of them have white's people blood. From this point, we can identify that they have the same ethnic identity, both can be consider to have the same ethnicity even Antoinette does not have pure white blood.
Personal identity is also involved in this novel as a theme. From the start to end of this novel, Mr. Rochester is nameless. Maybe this is the author intention so that no one will know this heartless man name. As for Antoinette, Rochester prefer to call her as Bertha, Rochester do this because he dislike Antoinette name similar with her mother, Rochester thinks that it will affect his status in other people eye's after he heard the story from Daniel Cosway.
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Family identity is also greatly involved in this novel. For example, Mr. Rochester origins from a rich family, but he did not inherited the property from his father maybe because of the property was inherited by his elder siblings. He come to Granbois to seek his own fortune, his marriage with Antoinette was arranged by his father and Richard Mason, so that he will get the thirty thousand pounds from Antoinette which she inherited from Mr. Mason. His father intention was to make sure that the Rochester family will have highly status where most of the family are rich. As for Antoinette, she have two first name which is Mason and Cosway because her mother married two times. Mr. Mason is a rich man where he has a son, Richard, even though Antoinette is not Mr. Mason own daughter but he liked her and give her half of his property but Richard are not satisfied with his father decision because he thinks that the rumours from Antoinette's family will disgrace his family name, so he decide to take away Antoinette property.
Beside of ethnic identity, Antoinette and Rochester also have the cultural identity. For example, they have the similar education back ground which they are taught to in Christian, they were taught to read book and live in an white's men way where they learn to dance and drink wine , this shows that they practices the very same culture. Although Antoinette practices some of the white's men culture but she also practices the culture from Caribbean which is mostly believe by the black people. For example, Antoinette believed in obeah, Caribbean form of the religion Voodoo, some kind of superstitious because Christophine, Antoinette's surrogate mother introduce her to the Caribbean culture and to obeah. This can be proven when Antoinette ask Christophine to make love potion for her, so that Rochester will love her. Also Antoinette also likes to bath in the natural bathing pool just like the other people live in Granbois but Richard are not used to these because to him those things looks like in dream he is afraid of that, he do not want to get used to this situation, he feels that England is his place, their marriage have causes culture mismatch which leads to a tragedy.
2. How does the author of the prescribed text present the idea that being at odds with society's values involves risk but complying with those values can also be harmful?
There are two society involved in Wide Sargasso Sea which is Caribbean's society and western's society. Different society will have different values, for example the western's society pay more aspects in civilize people, wealth, status and religious life but the Caribbean society's pay more aspects in hatred, revenge and justice.
The author prescribe it by using Annette as an example. Annette as a colour person and practices the very same culture of Caribbean people but she is married to a white man and he is a slave owner, when Annette married him, she is taking risk which is very significant because of the slavery problem, most of the black people hates the white people and there comes some gossip from the people at Coulibri, Mr. Cosway estate saying that the man she married is too old for her and so when Mr. Cosway died, Annette and her family were discriminated by the other people for 5 years until she is married again. The Caribbean society's dislike white people for they treaten them, so they will hate their people marry white people and this is the risk Annette is taking, she knew that this will be the consequences when she is married to a white man. However, Annette did not comply with the Caribbean society's values because she knows that it will not do any good, when she is married to Mr. Cosway, she understand the white people better and thus leads her to an more open-minded person. I also thinks that she does not wants her child comply with those values at that specific time, envy, hatred and revengeful.
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When Annette married to Mr. Mason, her second marriage, she makes the coloured people live around Coulibri even hates her and as the consequences, they burn Annette house and Pierre is dead, a greatly risk indeed.
As for the western's values, we can see it in the Mason and Rochester families. To them wealthy symbollise their status, Mr. Rochester father wants him to find his own fortune and this significantly shows that wealthy to them is their status. Rochester prove that this is their society values when he wants to marry Antoinette for her money and the money are given to him without any question. We can also see this value in Richard Mason, he do not wants his step-sister to have the same status as him and so he decided to arrange a marriage for her so that her money will give to someone else. The western's society also judge a person
from their clothes, the way of speaking and manners. For example, Mr. Rochester dislike Christophine for a few reason. Christophine spoke in a language that Mr. Rochester dislike, Christophine describe that the yellow tea drinks by the English men as yellow horse piss and the dress she is wearing which is dirty makes Rochester thinks that is not a clean habit. Christophine knows that the young master, Mr. Rochester dislike her, she knows that she will never comply with the western's values and so she left the house because she also knew that Rochester will chase her house at last. Even though her action did not harm herself but she did not think of the consequences when she left Antoinette and Antoinette was the one who are harmed.