Wide Sargasso Sea

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Christophine Character Analysis

Antoinette’s nurse, Christophine is respected and feared among blacks and whites alike. She is a practitioner of obeah (a voodoo-like magic), which both accounts for her power over others and ultimately gets her in trouble with the law, rendering her powerless to help Antoinette. Other than the landscape, Christophine is the only real constant in Antoinette’s life, until she too abandons her to her fate with the husband.

Christophine Quotes in Wide Sargasso Sea

The Wide Sargasso Sea quotes below are all either spoken by Christophine or refer to Christophine . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the W.W. Norton & Company edition of Wide Sargasso Sea published in 1992.
Part 2 Quotes

Woman must have spunks to live in this wicked world.

Related Characters: Christophine (speaker)
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Antoinette realizes that her nurse, Christophine, is about to leave her home altogether. Christophine explains that she and the Husband don't get along, so it'll be easier if she just leaves permanently. Antoinette is heartbroken, since Christophine--while not exactly her friend--is one of the last links between Antoinette's current life and her past. Without Christophine, Antoinette will be cut loose in a frightening new world.

Christophine's parting words to Antoinette show that she's survived because she's tough and confident in herself--necessities in a world that's already so hard for women. Christophine could be considered a model for how to survive in an unjust world: she has a confidence and strength that most other characters lack, but with this comes a callousness (she turns her back on Antoinette, after all). The fact that Christophine uses magic might also be a signal to us that she's a true anomaly in the world of the novel: a woman who's completely free (for now).

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All women, all colours, nothing but fools. Three children I have. One living in this world, each one a different father, but no husband, I thank my God. I keep my money. I don’t give it to no worthless man.

Related Characters: Christophine (speaker)
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Antoinette gets some tough advice from Christophine: leave the Husband altogether. Antoinette refuses to do so: she'd be too embarrassed, society would reject her, and she has no money anymore. Christophine is disgusted with Antoinette's weakness, and she accuses her, along with all women, of being weak.

The passage is important because it gives us some more information about Christophine, and reminds us that while she's a woman, she's not like any other woman in the novel. Christophine insists that all woman do what she's done: remain financially independent. Notice that Christophine hasn't turned her back on love or sex: she has children, but she refuses to marry a man. There are obvious limitations to Christophine's way of life (she never feels a sense of security from having a permanent companion, for example), and yet she's impressive in finding a way to survive on her own.

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Christophine Character Timeline in Wide Sargasso Sea

The timeline below shows where the character Christophine appears in Wide Sargasso Sea. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
To avoid her mother, Antoinette begins to spend most of her time with her nurse Christophine. Christophine is also from Martinique, and therefore just as isolated in the black community as... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
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When Antoinette asks her mother about Christophine, it is clear that she is the only servant that Annette still trusts. Annette believes... (full context)
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..."White cockroach, go away, go away. Nobody want you." Antoinette hides in the garden, where Christophine finds her many hours later, lying on the ground covered in moss. (full context)
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The next day, Christophine introduces Antoinette to Tia, the daughter of Christophine’s only friend, another non-Jamaican black woman. Tia... (full context)
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...These visitors laugh at Antoinette’s dirty clothes, causing her to run away and Annette and Christophine to argue about the state of Antoinette’s wardrobe. Annette insists that Antoinette must have another... (full context)
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...with many illegitimate children, and claim also that Annette “encouraged” him. They also gossip about Christophine and her practice of obeah. After the wedding, Antoinette and her brother are sent to... (full context)
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...than its appearance has changed. The new black servants brought by Mr. Mason gossip about Christophine and obeah, instilling a new fear of Christophine in Antoinette. Antoinette says that though no... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
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...seem to remember this as well, for they begin to flee. As the family and Christophine reach their carriage, a man in the crowd confronts them, but Aunt Cora threatens him... (full context)
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...taken to visit her mother at the house where Annette is recuperating. Antoinette insists that Christophine go with her, and no one else. When they arrive, Antoinette runs as fast as... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
...to herself that she must forget her. The rest of Antoinette’s family drifts from her-- Christophine goes away to live with her son, and Mr. Mason visits only rarely. Eventually, Aunt... (full context)
Part 2
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...Hilda runs into the house because she cannot cease giggling. Antoinette introduces the husband to Christophine. The husband takes in her clothing and decides to himself that she seems “insignificant.” They... (full context)
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...connection to Granbois: “This is my place and everything is on our side.” They discuss Christophine briefly, and the husband remarks that if she were taller, and “dressed to the nines,”... (full context)
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...veranda in a hammock, sleeping under the full moon. The next morning, according to Antoinette, Christophine chastised her, telling her that it was “very bad to sleep in the moonlight when... (full context)
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The next morning, the husband wakes to find Antoinette already up and dressed, and Christophine serving breakfast. Christophine offers the husband coffee, calling it her “bull’s blood,” which makes the... (full context)
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During the day, Antoinette is silent and distant, often “chattering” to Christophine in patois. But at night, she opens up and tells him intimate things, like that... (full context)
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...overcome by the heat. When he arrives at the house, Amélie is informing Antoinette that Christophine plans to leave. Antoinette is upset, and Amélie teases her sarcastically about both Christophine’s and... (full context)
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As Antoinette waits for Christophine, she ignores the husband and begins to shred her bed sheet in quiet distress. When... (full context)
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Christophine calls Amélie worthless, and likens her to a centipede. She kisses Antoinette on the cheek... (full context)
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...narration switches to Antoinette’s point of view. She is on horseback, on her way to Christophine’s house. Her horse stumbles along the way, so she gets off and walks. When Antoinette... (full context)
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Christophine lights her pipe, and after a moment replies, "You ask me a hard thing, I... (full context)
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Antoinette now explains to Christophine that she is no longer rich, that after the marriage she has no money of... (full context)
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Christophine, who has been watching Antoinette closely while she daydreams, interrupts her by asking her if... (full context)
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Antoinette briefly questions her own trust in Christophine’s good counsel, wondering why she is seeking the advice of someone who might not believe... (full context)
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Antoinette continues to insist that Christophine use her power to make her husband come to her bed for just one night.... (full context)
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When Antoinette asks if this extends even to Aunt Cora, Christophine tells her that Aunt Cora is now a resigned old woman, and that "she turn... (full context)
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Christophine again instructs Antoinette to “have spunks,” to “do battle for yourself.” She tells her to... (full context)
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Antoinette and Christophine go into Christophine’s two-room house while Jo-jo prepares Antoinette’s horse for her departure back to... (full context)
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The narrative re-enters the husband’s consciousness. On the day that Antoinette goes to see Christophine, Amélie delivers another letter from Daniel Cosway to the husband. The letter begins by asking... (full context)
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...tell him the truth because he has become “two-faced” in his prosperity. He also names Christophine as untrustworthy, saying that she is the worst of them, and tells the husband that... (full context)
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...husband asks who “they” were, and Antoinette names the servants who had remained after emancipation-- Christophine, Godfrey, and a boy named Sass, whose real name was Disastrous, because his godmother liked... (full context)
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Antoinette says that her family would have died if Christophine had not been there to care for them. She explains that many people died in... (full context)
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...went off to earlier that day, and she tells him that she went to see Christophine, and that she will tell him anything now, because she sees that words are no... (full context)
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Fraser writes back at once, saying that the woman’s name was “Josephine or Christophine,” and she was imprisoned in connection with obeah before becoming a servant at Coulibri. He... (full context)
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One afternoon, Antoinette returns to the house, closely followed by Christophine. Antoinette goes to her room without looking at the husband, and rings for Baptiste. Baptiste... (full context)
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...body. The husband feels as if he is in a dream. She only quiets when Christophine comes in and tells her to stop crying. She collapses onto the sofa and sobs. (full context)
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Christophine turns to the husband and asks him sadly why he did what he did with... (full context)
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He goes back to his room, where Christophine finds him. They argue. She tells him she hopes he’s satisfied, that she knows what... (full context)
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...is right, that he meant for her to hear what happened. Now in addition to Christophine’s words echoing in his mind, he can hear Antoinette’s voice as it sounded or must... (full context)
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When he shakes his head, Christophine repeats that everything Daniel Cosway told him is a lie, and that she would have... (full context)
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The husband asks Christophine if she and Antoinette would both stay here at Granbois, and she says no, they... (full context)
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Christophine relents, but demands to know what he will do with Antoinette. He says he will... (full context)
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He asks Christophine if she wants to say goodbye to Antoinette, and she tells him that she has... (full context)
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Agitated after his confrontation with Christophine, the husband paces his room and speaks aloud to himself a letter he wants to... (full context)
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...is no pity for him, who is “tied to a lunatic for life.” He remembers Christophine telling him that Antoinette loves him, thirsts for him, and thinks to himself that Antoinette... (full context)
Part 3
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...to the attic and climbs out onto the roof, all the while calling out to Christophine. Sitting out on the roof and watching the flames, she remembers Aunt Cora and Tia... (full context)