Annie’s Family in the Novel Annie John
Normally, parents would always try to give their children an affectionate upbringing. But sometimes they find it difficult to guide their children through the complex process of growing up, and so, they may fail to help their offspring during adolescence, for instance. This seems to be the situation in the story Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid. Annies mother was a doting parent who cared fondly for her daughter. However, she made Annies first steps into adolescence unnecessarily abrupt, painful and unsettling for she became suddenly detached, refused to spend time with her daughter and started to disapprove of Annie.
Undoubtedly, Annie Johns mother was a very devoted parent: she showed great love for her daughter and paid a lot of attention to Annie. Many times, both, mother and daughter took baths together. In doing so, Annies mother bathed affectionately different parts of Annies body. She also included Annie in everything: she did the shopping, prepared lunch and supper and made the washing in the company of her daughter. Both were so attached to each other that Mrs. John even made sure Annies dresses were made out of the same cloth as hers. Moreover, she tenderly told stories about Annie while cleaning Annies trunk, which was full of souvenirs of Annies childhood. These stories pleased Annie so much that she always yearned to clean the trunk with her mother it was in such paradise that Annie lived.
However, in seeing that her daughter was on the verge of becoming a young lady, Annies mother became suddenly detached. Probably she wanted Annie to be less dependent on her, but in doing so, she disconcerted her daughter: she unexpectedly asserted that Annie was too old to wear dresses made out of the same cloth as her. She said, Its time you had your own clothes. You just cannot go around the rest of your life looking like a little me. Moreover, she unreasonably claimed that there was no time to clean her daughters trunk anymore. This was also very sad for Annie because her mother would no longer tell her stories in the way she used to. Definitely, this abrupt change in her mothers attitude unsettled Annie and caused her great pain.
What was probably more disconcerting and saddening for Annie was her mothers refusal to spend time with her. Mrs. John informed that they should stop doing the household jobs together because Annie was becoming a young lady, but there was no further explanation. Besides, instead of their usual days spent together, Annie was now sent to learn manners and how to play the piano. In this way, Mrs. John caused pain to her daughter again: the old sweet moments they had spent together were now left behind, without any apparent reason.
Not only did Annies mother refuse to spend time with her daughter, but also she suddenly started to disapprove of Annie. It was sad for Annie to see her mother with the corner of her mouth turned down in disapproval of her. For example, when the piano teacher told Mrs. John of one of Annies misdeeds, Mrs. John turned and walked away from her daughter. Evidently, her mothers back turned in disgust for her daughter was something new for Annie. Her mothers face had always borne a smile for Annie, and so, Annie was taken aback by her mothers harsh attitude.
Certainly, Annies mother had always shown tender loving care for her daughter. Nevertheless, she was unable to make Annies transition into adolescence a painless and easy process. Mrs. John suddenly changed her attitude towards Annie after realizing that her daughter was becoming an adolescent and so, she disconcerted her daughter and caused pain to her. Needless to say, Mrs. Johns behavior was unnecessary, for she could have avoided Annies distress by talking frankly and straightforwardly to Annie, and of course, by supporting her daughter during this arduous and crucial stage in her life.
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