• The story opens in the British colony of Jamaica during the 1830's.
• The black slaves are recently freed by the British and are poor as they await their promised compensation.
• There is a great deal of tension between the former slaves and their former owners.
• The former slaves call their former owners "cockroaches" and "white niggers".
• The opening lines of the story create an ominous setup of the story about to unfold.
• The central character of the story, Antoinette, narrates Part One in the first person.
• The reader is introduced to Antoinette's mother, Annette Cosway.
• Mrs. Cosway is beautiful and is from Martinique, another island in the West Indies.
• The "proper society" ladies of Jamaica do not approve of Mrs. Cosway, and she is a favorite topic for gossip.
• Mrs. Cosway has been widowed for about five years.
• Couibri Estate is where Antoinette, her brother, her mother...
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