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SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
PART ONE - SECTION TWO
Antoinette awakened at her Aunt Cora’s house, feeling upset that her hair had been cut, but comfortable to be in a nice bed. Aunt Cora explained that the Luttrells had helped get the family to safety, but Pierre had died. Annette had been taken to the country to recover. Antoinette remembered having heard her mother’s hysterical screams, but did not mention it to her aunt.
She went to visit her mother, bringing Christophine along. Annette was barely recognizable. When Antoinette hugged her mother, Annette tightly returned the embrace, then suddenly flung Antoinette away, violently. The caretakers, a black couple, scolded Christophine for bringing “the child to make trouble, trouble, trouble.”
Aunt Cora sent Antoinette to a convent school. Though reluctant to leave her Aunt Cora’s friendly house, Antoinette forced herself to walk to the school. On the way she was followed by two children who bullied her and taunted her about being crazy like her mother. Sandi Cosway, one of Antoinette’s father’s illegitimate children ran over and scared the bullies away. He helped Antoinette with her books, and then chased after the bullies. Upon arriving at school, Antoinette collapsed into tears and was comforted by the nuns. She was assigned to another student, Louise de Plana, who the nuns seemed to consider impeccable.
While at the convent, Antoinette thought about her mother, but received no word of her. Her days were spent on lessons about the saints and personal virtues. She felt the convent was a place of refuge, but not happiness.
During this time Christophine had gone to live with her own son, Aunt Cora had moved to England, and Mr. Mason traveled abroad for months at a time. When in town, Mr. Mason visited the convent and brought Antoinette gifts. On his last visit he explained that Antoinette would leave the convent and he would present her to society.
Antoinette was afraid to leave the safety of the convent. She had another dream about a forest, but this time she followed the man in the dream rather than running from him. When she saw his face it was “black with hatred” and he forced her to go with him through an unfamiliar garden and up some steps to what Antoinette thought was hell. Antoinette was so disturbed she awoke crying out and shivering. A nun comforted her with some hot chocolate. The hot chocolate reminded her of her mother’s funeral, attended only by Mr. Mason, Christophine and Antoinette. Thoughts of her mother mixed with the thoughts of her dream.
In this part, Antoinette’s narrative is disjointed and does not follow a linear time frame. She makes word associations that bring her to thoughts of her mother (see Quotes). The reader sees that Antoinette is battling her inner loneliness and gloom.
Aunt Cora briefly mothers Antoinette, then sends her away to school and leaves the country. Christophine has gone to her own son. The only security Antoinette has is at the convent. Here she is safe from her past, from racial hatred, and from the social and economic control of men. In this world of women, she forgoes happiness and settles for refuge.
Her peace is disrupted when Mr. Mason has the opportunity to use Antoinette to further his transactions with other white men. She senses the evil and has another forest dream, which foreshadows her unhappiness at Granbois (translation: great forest) and her captivity in unfamiliar England.