The state of women’s dresses and hair represent their desirability as well as their agency in the novel. When Tia and Antoinette fall out early on in the novel, Tia humiliates Antoinette by stealing her dress. Annette’s effort to lift the family out of destitution begins with the making of new dresses for herself and Antoinette. When Antoinette wakes from her fever, she knows that she has been ill and a great change has occurred because she sees that her hair has been cut. Louise de Plana, the ultimate ideal female in the novel, is constantly dressed in white, and has hair that Antoinette tries and fails to emulate. The husband’s physical attraction to both Antoinette and Amélie is at various points directed towards their dresses, and in the case of Antoinette even her dress on its own, without her in it, is enough to arouse the husband. Christophine’s intimidating presence is often connected with the bold colors of her dress.
Clothing and Hair Quotes in Wide Sargasso Sea
The Wide Sargasso Sea quotes below all refer to the symbol of Clothing and Hair. 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: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the W.W. Norton & Company edition of Wide Sargasso Sea published in 1992.).
Clothing and Hair Symbol Timeline in Wide Sargasso Sea
The timeline below shows where the symbol Clothing and Hair appears in Wide Sargasso Sea. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...Mr. Luttrell who have come to claim his estate. These visitors laugh at Antoinette’s dirty clothes, causing her to run away and Annette and Christophine to argue about the state of... (full context)
...the room. She cannot see her mother’s face, but soon recognizes her by her damaged hair. They embrace, and Antoinette struggles to express to her mother that, though Pierre is dead,... (full context)
...servant, Hilda, when she begins to giggle during the introductions. the husband observes that Hilda’s dress is spotless, but thinks that her hair, arranged in many small braids, makes her look... (full context)
...Christophine’s familiar, comforting smell of clean and starched cotton, and remembers watching Christophine washing her clothes at Coulibri. Antoinette looks around, takes in the beauty of the wildlife and the sky,... (full context)
...he recognizes the complication he’s created, and feels “satisfied and peaceful, but not gay.” Amélie dresses, and he admires her dress. He gives her a large sum of money, which she... (full context)