Wide Sargasso Sea

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Grace Poole Character Analysis

Antoinette’s caretaker in the husband’s manor in England, Grace Poole is paid handsomely for her discretion, which she maintains despite her misgivings regarding the husband's treatment of Antoinette. A partial narrator of Part 3 of the novel, she often drinks to excess and falls asleep, allowing Antoinette to steal her keys and roam the rest of the house.

Grace Poole Quotes in Wide Sargasso Sea

The Wide Sargasso Sea quotes below are all either spoken by Grace Poole or refer to Grace Poole . 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 3 Quotes

The rumours I’ve heard very far from the truth. But I don’t contradict, I know better than to say a word. After all the house is big and safe, a shelter from the world outside which, say what you like, can be a black and cruel world to a woman. Maybe that’s why I stayed on...Yes, maybe that’s why we all stay Mrs Eff and Leah and me. All of us except that girl who lives in her own darkness. I’ll say one thing for her, she hasn’t lost her spirit. She’s still fierce. I don’t turn my back on her when her eyes have that look. I know it.

Related Characters: Grace Poole (speaker), Antoinette Cosway, Mrs. Eff , Leah
Page Number: 178
Explanation and Analysis:

At the beginning of the third part of the book, we're introduced to Grace Poole, who takes care of "Bertha" (i.e., Antoinette) in England. (By now the novel is more closely following the storyline of Jane Eyre.) Grace has heard plenty of rumors about how the Husband came to meet Antoinette. Grace knows more about the truth than her peers, since she's been working for the Husband for longer, but she also isn't sure of anything, and doesn't dare gossip about what she knows: if she's found out, she could be fired and sent far away.

In a way, Grace and Antoinette aren't so different: they're both frightened women who are imprisoned in a particular place. Grace knows that she has nowhere else to go; if she were fired she'd end up back in the "black and cruel world." By the same token, Antoinette was trapped in a horrifying marriage to the Husband, knowing that she could never escape him. With the notable exception of Christophine, women in the novel are often the prisoners of their husbands or employers.

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Grace Poole Character Timeline in Wide Sargasso Sea

The timeline below shows where the character Grace Poole appears in Wide Sargasso Sea. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 3
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
Part Three opens in the point of view of Grace Poole, Antoinette’s caretaker in England. She is speaking to Leah, another servant in the husband’s... (full context)
Truth Theme Icon
Mrs. Eff tells Grace that she will double her pay, but that she will be replaced if there is... (full context)
Truth Theme Icon
The narration switches to Antoinette’s consciousness. She is watching Grace Poole light the fire in her attic room. She gets up and puts her face... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
...wall and sees her mother in it, looking away from her. She does not tell Grace about her vision, and thinks to herself that the name “Grace” does not fit Grace... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
One morning, Antoinette wakes up aching, with her wrists red and swollen. Grace Poole tells her that the day before, “a gentleman” had come to see her. Antoinette... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
...embrace was “the life and death kiss.” She does not share any of this with Grace Poole. She drops her dress on the floor and thinks that it looks like the... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
...stairs in the dream lead here, to her attic room. In her dream, she takes Grace Poole’s keys and descends into the house. She is quiet, for she doesn’t want to... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
...it is she who is screaming. In the dream she jumps, and then wakes up. Grace Poole wakes up at the sound of Antoinette’s scream and comes over to check on... (full context)