Antoinette, the main character in Wide Sargasso Sea suffers many tragedies throughout her life, which end in her going completely mentally insane. She ends up going completely mad in the end of the story. Everyone expected her to go mad because her mother went mad before she dies but Antoinette going mad in many ways could have been an effect of the expectation rather than going mad because it was in her blood. In many ways she and those she interacted with could have been as the phrase goes “Perpetuating Prophecy”.
Antoinette was an English white girl who spent her childhood and most of her life in Jamaica, whose father died and years later her mother got remarried to Mr. Mason. The locals in the village in which they live set fire to her home. Several months after this fire Antoinette was told her mother got “sick” while in reality she went completely mad and attempted to kill her husband and she was aware of this but did not tell anyone, “What was the use of telling her that I’d been awake before and heard my mother screaming ‘Que est là? Que est là?’ then ‘Don’t touch me. I’ll kill you if you touch me. Coward. Hypocrite. I’ll kill you.’” (WSS Pg. 47). Because of this everyone believes that Antoinette will also eventually go mad and that her husband has made the wrong choice to pick her for his wife, “This young Mrs. Cosway is worthless and spoilt, she can’t lift a hand for herself and soon the madness that is in her, and all those white Creoles, come out.” (WSS Pg. 96). Antoinette does go mad at the end of the novel, “They tell me I am in England but I don’t believe them. We lost our way to England. When? Where? I don’t remember, but we lost it.” (WSS Pg. 181).
I believe in many ways the reason she went mad was because she and those around her, especially her husband, believed that she would go mad. Her husband starts to treat her like she is already starting to go mad, “‘Christophine, he does not love me, I think he hates me. He always sleeps in his dressing-room now and the servants know. If I get angry he is scornful and silent, sometimes he does not speak to me for hours and I cannot endure it any more, I cannot.’” (WSS Pg. 109). In my opinion this puts her psychologically in the mindset that she is already starting to go mad and will continue to do so, “Her hair hung uncombed and dull into her eyes which were inflamed and staring, her face was very flushed and looked swollen. Her feet were bare. However when she spoke her voice was low, almost inaudible.” (WSS Pg. 146) Because of this mindset she continues to go further and further downhill towards being considered mentally insane, “I did it too. I saw the hate go out of her eyes. I forced it out. And with the hate her beauty. She was only a ghost. A ghost in the grey daylight….She lifted her eyes. Blank lovely eyes. Mad eyes. A mad girl.” (WSS Pg. 170).
I believe that because of her beliefs and the beliefs of those around her, especially her husband, about her future, Antoinette went mad and perpetuated the prophecy caused by these beliefs. Her husband treated her like she was bound to go made making her treat herself as if she was going to go mad, causing their beliefs in her future of being completely mentally insane came true. She perpetuated this prophecy and because a product of the environment people created for by their belief in the future of her mental health being taken away from and treatment of her in their beliefs that she would become like her mother.