A Providing Theme of Annie John Novel

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

Annie John Chapter 1 Response

Death is a predominant theme in Annie John right from the beginning. The story starts with death, explaining that Annie thought only people she did not know died. This is a strange start to a coming-of-age story because Annie is so young and is already obsessed with death. Annie becomes obsessed with wanting to see a dead person up close, since she has never seen one before. She was curious to see if people looked different in life than in death. She began to go to funerals after school without telling her parents because, after her neighbor Miss Charlotte died, her parents would not let Annie attend the funeral. However, the day finally came when a girl with a humpback from the neighboring school died. Annie wanted to see not just anybody dead, she wanted to see someone she knew dead. Annie saw this as her chance to see a real life dead person that she had actually met when she was alive. She crashed this girl’s funeral and looked at her as she lay in her coffin. It was her face that Annie wanted to see. Annie had heard that dead people look similar to sleeping people, but she disagreed as she looked at this girl dead in her coffin. Annie is so young and is obsessed with going to funerals and trying to see a dead person, but not just any dead person, someone that she knew so she could feel something or anything towards them.

Annie and her mother have an interesting relationship from the start as well. I pick up on a coldness about her mother. She has no sympathy when she tells Annie that children can die too. When Nalda dies, Annie’s mother helps Nalda’s mother prepare her for the funeral because she cannot bear to do it herself. Annie’s father made the coffin while her mother prepared the little girl for burial. After that, Annie could not look at her mother’s hands the same. All Annie could see when she looked at her mother’s hands was her mom stroking the dead girl’s forehead. The smell of bay rum would linger on her mother when she came back, this sent made Annie ill for a while. Annie would cringe at the feeling or thought of her mother touching her food or helping her with her bath because she had touched a dead girl. But her mother shows compassion of Annie as well. For example, when Annie lied about the fisherman being busy, her mother made her eat dinner outside and told her she would not give her a kiss goodnight. But when night fell and Annie was in bed, her mom came in and gave her a kiss on the forehead goodnight.

Two motifs that really stood out to me were hands and water. For example, Annie’s father built their house with his own hands. And Annie looked at her mother’s hands differently after she knew that she had touched a dead girl. Hands could indicate a sense of power. Another motif is water. Annie noticed that the girl sitting next to her in class stopped sucking her thumb. She told Annie that her mom had washed her thumb in water in which a dead person was given a bath in. This scarred the little because she did not want to put her thumb in her mouth since it now makes her think of death.

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