In the novel Wide Sargasso Sea, both the young woman, Antoinette Cosway, and the prideful man, Rochester, look for more security throughout their lives. Antoinette is a girl of fearful backgrounds and a lustful marriage. Rochester is a gentleman of wealth and lustfulness. All about the story, these two try to search for the remedy to find their happiness; in the end, they fail miserably.
Antoinette Cosway searches for truth and knowledge in a way to get rid of her common weakness in life, fear. Fear is found in all aspects of her life because of her early childhood when severely hostile slaves, who burn her primary home in Spanish Town (Jamaica), mob her family with stones. More or less, as a child, Antoinette has no friends in her home place. Her only acquaintance, a young black girl named Tia, steals her dress while she is performing a dare in the lake.
The relation ends after this incident because Antoinette and Tia never speak to each other again. Her family is an outcast to society because of their wealth and past history. This rank in society puts fear into the mind of Antoinette throughout her whole marriage as well with Rochester. She has a hope that she can erase this flaw, but Rochester uses her only for her money and his lustful desires. At times in the marriage, the two will not even speak to each other for several days or weeks. Through this experience, Antoinette eventually gives up and never is really accepted by anyone but her own slaves.
Rochester searches for a companion throughout his life that will submit to his excessive desires. In the beginning of his trip in Jamaica, he finds this companion in the form of a young woman named Antoinette Cosway. He never truly understands why Antoinette loves the Caribbean and naturally, he never enjoys the place at all. Antoinette wants to be treated like a lady while Rochester only wants to have her for his lustful desires and idea that he will be able to eventually take all of her money. Paranoia flows through Rochester when he is not getting his way. He fears that Antoinette will leave him in the horrible place and believes that Antoinette's slaves poison him. In retaliation, Rochester enslaves Antoinette in his own household in London for her ancestors' sins and for her unwillingness to bow to his desires.
Neither Antoinette nor Rochester succeeds in finding their quest for knowledge and truths in the novel. Instead of being accepted by someone in society, Antoinette is thrown into slavery by Rochester for her lack of kindness to him. She is never even quite close into obtaining this act because Rochester's only interests are of her wealth and figure. On the other hand, Rochester never seems to find his companion that will go low enough to be his submissive wife too. He finds out that Antoinette is no longer interested in him and learns of her past evil backgrounds, and he takes her back to England with him to serve as a prisoner in his British home. In this work by Jean Rhys, man's significance is considered dominant but not highly important generally due to the unsuccessfulness of Rochester.