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SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

PART TWO - SECTION FIVE

Summary

Antoinette narrates this section of Part Two. She feels that her husband does not love her any more and she has ridden her horse to Christophine’s house looking for advice. Christophine felt the solution was easy, “pack up and go.” Antoinette explained that she had nowhere to go and no money since her inheritance now belonged to her husband according to English law. So, Christophine suggested that Antoinette borrow money from her husband and visit a “cousin” in Martinique and stay there until the man came wanting Antoinette back. Antoinette replied that Martinique was not far enough; she should go to England. Christophine did not believe that England existed.

Antoinette then confessed the real reason for her visit. She wanted Christophine to use obeah to make her husband come to her room once more and love her. The old servant explained how dangerous obeah was for white people and that she could only make the man want to make love to Antoinette (physically), not actually love her. She knew of the gossip and told Antoinette to talk to her husband so that he would again feel comfortable with her. She also warned Antoinette not to trust anyone.

Antoinette recalled the last time she had seen her Aunt Cora, someone she felt she could trust. Cora was arguing on Antoinette’s behalf with Richard, trying to secure some of Antoinette’s inheritance. She knew that Antoinette’s future husband was entering into the marriage for financial gain and that Antoinette would have no legal protection but Richard would not change the arrangements. It was then that Aunt Cora gave Antoinette her rings. Antoinette now considered selling another of the rings, but could not think of a buyer.


Christophine agreed to give Antoinette the magic only if Antoinette would talk to her husband first. Antoinette was ecstatic that Christophine had agreed, but became frightened when Christophine took her inside the house where there was a heap of chicken feathers in the corner. She paid Christophine, but Christophine did not agree to do this because of money. Upon leaving, Antoinette heard a cock crowing and knew that it was a sign of betrayal, but could not say for sure who had betrayed whom. She rode home carrying the potion wrapped in leaves.

Notes

With Antoinette narrating, Christophine is once again a central character. In Antoinette’s eyes, Christophine is the one with power, not the white colonials. Antoinette is the beggar and the servant woman is the sage. These two women do not subscribe to the boundaries of race and class. The conflict of values illustrated by their differing ideas about the role of women, however, shows that Antoinette is indeed bound by English law. Christophine boasts of her own independence from men and advises Antoinette to be the same. But both women know that Antoinette is completely dependent on her husband - like her mother and Coco before her, her wings had been clipped by an Englishman. Christophine knows that Antoinette’s only chance is to escape. That is why she urges her to leave and is reluctant to help her reunite with her husband.

The magic that Christophine practices, obeah, is reserved for blacks. Christophine tries to warn Antoinette of the “bad trouble” that will come. Antoinette is white, and worse, pays for the magic with colonial money. It is not until after she leaves that Antoinette realizes that the transaction was wrong. She hears the cock crow and wonders about the motivation of traitors.

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