Wide Sargasso Sea

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Mr. Mason Character Analysis

Annette’s second husband, Mr. Mason is an Englishman who, like the husband, seems incapable of understanding Jamaican culture. He ignores Annette’s warnings of the danger presented by the nearby village of disgruntled former slaves, preferring to view them as benign children. As a result, he is unprepared when the villagers burn down Coulibri.

Mr. Mason Quotes in Wide Sargasso Sea

The Wide Sargasso Sea quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Mason or refer to Mr. Mason . 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 1 Quotes

I was bridesmaid when my mother married Mr. Mason in Spanish Town...their eyes slid away from my hating face. I had heard what all these smooth smiling people said about her when she was not listening and they did not guess I was.

Related Characters: Antoinette Cosway (speaker), Annette , Mr. Mason
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Antoinette watches with horror as her mother remarries (Antoinette's own father has died, leaving the family deep in debt). Anette's new husband is an Englishman named Mr. Mason. Though Anette herself is of French extraction, she seems to be giving in to the social pressure to "become English." Moreover, Antoinette is disgusted by the people she sees at her mother's wedding: she knows very well that most of the English guests there secretly despise Anette for being French and remarrying a Englishman to repair her decaying household. The scene is an important part of Antoinette's coming-of-age, since it shows her becoming even more disillusioned with the artificial ceremonies of life in white Jamaica: to be a part of society is to lie and be hypocritical, and Antoinette can't stand it.

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Mr. Mason did not approve of Aunt Cora, an ex-slave-owner who had escaped misery, a flier in the face of Providence.

Related Characters: Antoinette Cosway (speaker), Mr. Mason , Aunt Cora
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:
Antoinette is sent to live with her Aunt Cora, who used to be a prominent slave-owner before the Emancipation Act. Now, Cora has somehow managed to escaped punishment from Jamaica: she gets by despite having lost her entire labor force (unlike Antoinette's own family, which is immediately devastated by the Act). Cora's philosophy of life is at odds with that of Mr. Mason, Anette's new, mysterious husband. It's tempting to think of Mr. Mason as the "good" character here, by virtue of the fact that he rejects slavery (or at least rejects Cora the unpunished slaveowner). And yet, as we'll come to see, the truth is more complicated: Mr. Mason is hardly a progressive figure, and actually regards black people as sub-human.

You have lived alone far too long, Annette. You imagine enmity which doesn’t exist. Always one extreme or the other. Didn’t you fly at me like a little wild cat when I said nigger. Not nigger, nor even negro. Black people I must say... they’re too damn lazy to be dangerous, I know that.’
‘They are more alive than you are, lazy or not, and they can be dangerous and cruel for reasons you wouldn’t understand.’

Related Characters: Annette (speaker), Mr. Mason (speaker)
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Mr. Mason and his wife, Anette, have an argument. Anette is worried that their black neighbors have become so angry with her family (and Mr. Mason's new, ostentatious show of wealth) that they'll attack the house. Mr. Mason dismisses Annette's worries as "hysterical," and suggests that the black neighbors are too foolish and lazy to plan anything so daring.

The passage is important because there's no real hero or villain in it. Annette's comments about her black neighbors suggests that she sees them as very "alive" but also dangerous and antagonistic. Mr. Mason, by contrast, is incredibly condescending toward black people, insulting them with slurs and dismissing them as childish. Annette is smarter about the ways of the world--she knows that her black neighbors are smart and powerful enough to destroy her--but she continues to regard them as monsters, not people. Annette does, however, show some sympathy for the plight of former slaves in Jamaica--as a longtime resident of the island, she knows about their suffering in ways that Mr. Mason cannot understand.

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Mr. Mason Character Timeline in Wide Sargasso Sea

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Mason 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
Women and Power Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
Annette remarries, to Mr. Mason , an Englishman. Antoinette, serving as a bridesmaid, regards the English guests at the wedding... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
...finds that much more 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... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
...commentary among the surrounding community of ex-slaves about the new wealth brought to Coulibri by Mr. Mason . A year into their marriage, Annette feels so threatened by their black neighbors that... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
...from an outing, the family notices that the huts of their black neighbors are abandoned. Mr. Mason thinks they must be at a dance or a wedding, but Antoinette and the rest... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
...and finds him already asleep. As she watches him sleep, she thinks to herself that Mr. Mason has promised to bring Pierre to England to be cured, and wonders what that might... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
...are up, and many of the servants are missing. There is an angry mob outside. Mr. Mason attempts to address the mob, still not believing that they are there to hurt the... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
...into strips to bandage Pierre, Annette alternates between whispering in shock and screaming angrily at Mr. Mason for not taking her warnings seriously. The loyal remaining servants, under Aunt Cora’s instruction, help... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
...echoing the parrot Coco’s signature phrase, “Qui est la?” and screaming accusations and threats at Mr. Mason . (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
...and goes on to harass her by saying that her mother had tried to kill Mr. Mason , had tried to kill Antoinette as well, and that they both have eyes “like... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
...of Antoinette’s family drifts from her-- Christophine goes away to live with her son, and Mr. Mason visits only rarely. Eventually, Aunt Cora travels back to England for her health, and Antoinette... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
After living in the convent for eighteen months, Antoinette is paid a visit by Mr. Mason . He brings her a dress, and tells her that he is taking her to... (full context)
Part 2
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
...the husband’s delay in writing as owing to his fever. The letter also reveals that Mr. Mason died before the husband arrived in Jamaica. The husband puts the letter in a drawer... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
...she loves any person. She describes the re-opening of Granbois after her mother’s marriage to Mr. Mason . She tells him that Granbois had been almost completely overgrown, and was transformed largely... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
...talking to herself. Daniel Cosway claims that Annette’s madness became worse after her marriage to Mr. Mason , whom she tried to kill and was then shut away, and who according to... (full context)