Mother-Daughter Relationship in Annie John
The novel, Annie John, by Jamaica Kincaid shows how a young girl’s relationship with her mother changes as she goes through puberty. Annie John, the 12 year old girl, develops mentally and physically, but also starts to become distant from her mother who she has been close with all of her life. The young girl’s disobedient position towards her mother is shown throughout the novel, creating a toxic mother-daughter relationship. When Annie John was a little girl she loved spending time with her mother, but as she grows older she begins to show hatred towards her mom. The relationship between Annie and her mother changes throughout the novel as Annie becomes a rebellious teenager, going against her morals.
Before Annie John reached the stage of puberty, she had a loving relationship with her mother and they spent a lot of their time together. Her and her mother were very close-knit and the two spent their time bathing, shopping, cooking, and more. One day during lunch she looked at her father and didn’t think anything of it, but when she looked at her mother she took a moment and cherished her mother’s beauty, “When my eyes rested on my father I didn’t think very much of the way he looked. But when my eyes rested on my mother, I found her beautiful” (Kincaid 18). She expresses her mother’s features in a loving tone showing how much she truly loved her. Annie had great admiration for her mother and wanted to be exactly like her. Throughout the story, Kincaid shows Annie John following her mother around, admiring her mother’s beauty, and doing exactly as her mother does. Whether it was cooking dinner in the kitchen or watching her mother bathe herself, Annie was always at her side.
As Annie John becomes a teenager she begins to have a toxic relationship with her mother and starts to keep secrets from her, becoming a disobedient child. For example, the following scene shows her going against her morals: “Reaching into my mother’s purse for the odd penny or so was easy enough to do … I hardly asked myself what use the Red Girl could really have for these gifts; I hardly cared that she only glanced at them for a moment and then placed them in the pocket of her dirty dress” (Kincaid 64). Annie John was looking to buy a gift for the girl she liked, but didn’t have the money, so she stole it from her mother. As the novel progresses, Annie John reaches an age where she doesn’t receive as much attention from her mother. Her mother believes that since she is turning into a young woman, she should begin to find her own way of life. This makes Annie John feel betrayed and unloved, and because of this she begins to act very differently towards her mother, stealing and lying to her. She soon begins to hate her mother, sometimes wishing she was dead. The two characters distance themselves from each other, losing the close bond they originally had.
The mother-daughter relationship between Annie and Mrs. John is torn apart as Annie John becomes an unruly adolescent. When Annie John was a little girl her and her mother spent every moment together and had a very strong relationship. By the time Annie John begins to hit puberty they’re relationship becomes tense and they begin to drift. Mother-daughter relationships are tense, and Kincaid shows this through these two characters. The relationship between a mother and a daughter is developed at birth, but Kincaid shows the struggles that many teenage girls and their mothers face when reaching an adolescent stage. At times, the author shows how much Annie John hates her mother and wishes she was dead, but at other times she shows the loving affection between both of them. Annie and her mother may have difficult times throughout the novel, but they both know deep down how much love they have for one another.
Colonial Influence and Cultural Identity in Annie John
Annie John is a novel written by Jamaica Kincaid in 1985. The book is a coming of age story as it depicts the life of a young girl named Annie John as she shifts from her childhood to her adolescence. At first, the book shows the strong bond between a young girl and her mother, but as she searches for her own identity, we see this girl gradually distance herself from her family. As Annie grows she experiences knew facets of her culture through the diverse adventures she partakes in and many friendships she forms. The story centers itself around three main themes: parent-child relationship, feminism and colonial influence on Caribbean culture. Through the analysis of colonial influence on Antigua’s educational and cultural standards in Annie John, we can ask ourselves: How and why is a social group represented in a particular way? In order to answer this question, this text will focus on the depiction of the British by firstly examining the coexistence of the two different nationalities, secondly deconstructing British social expectations and conformity to British standards and lastly studying the colonial history of Antigua.
Firstly, the story depicts the challenges that Annie goes through to find her cultural identity on this culturally diverse island. Although most of Antigua had a predominant creole culture because of its Afro-Antiguans majority, the British still formed a white oligarchy by constituting 1,7 percent of the Antiguan demographic in the 1950s. The Creole culture emerged from the mixing of Amerindian, West African and European cultures during colonization and is still a greatly spread culture throughout the Caribbean region. In the story, we can clearly see a split between two cultures: British culture and Obeah culture. Throughout the story English folks are regarded as more uptight and proper individuals by depicting them as rule enforcers such as the school teacher ““our headmistress (said) that she hoped we had all left our bad ways behind us, that we would be good examples for each other and bring greater credit to our school”. On the other hand, Afro-Antiguans are regarded as more superstitious individuals that consult their spiritual guides (Obeah women) to make decisions, “We took these baths after my mother had consulted with her obeah woman, and with her mother and a trusted friend. And all three of them had confirmed that from the look of things around our house (…) one of the many women my father had loved (…) was trying to harm my mother and me by setting bad spirits on us.”
Secondly, the English school system in which the story is set illustrates the conformism of British culture and suppression of Creole culture. Annie John’s maturing pushes her to reject the oppressive nature of her school system. Therefore, the rejection of British order is exemplified by the judgment she has over her English teacher “I knew right away that she [miss Moore] had come to Antigua from England, for she looked like a prune left out of its jar a long time and she sounded as if she had borrowed her voice from an owl. […] I wondered if she even smelled like a fish.” Not to mention, the loathing sentiment Annie withholds for the codified gender roles that are imposed upon her. Therefore, these social constructs are threats to Annie’s sense of identity, as she has to follow a code that contradicts her very sense of personal freedom and identity. For example, Gwen and Annie’s relationship was frowned upon by the English characters in the story and at the time two girls would be forbidden to have such close relations.
Thirdly, Antigua’s history with colonialism is a central aspect of the book. Although Afro-Antiguans had been liberated from the slavery they had endured for centuries, the colonial culture was still predominant in the educational spheres. Annie John does not adhere to the ideals of colonial history and wants to challenge the order by contesting the actions of colonizers. For example, when Columbus Day rolls around Annie decides to take a stance against this commemoration by blaspheming Christopher Columbus in her history book and consequently gets reprimanded by her principal by having to Annie copy Paradise Lost as punishment, “When I next saw the picture of Columbus sitting there all locked up in his chains, I wrote under it the words: The Great Man Can No longer Just Get Up and Go.” The principal’s choice of the book is important because it serves to symbolize what is to come if Annie does not straighten up her behavior and depicts quite fairly the reality of Antigua when this paradisiac island became a living hell with the arrival of the British and establishment of slavery.
To conclude, it is now clear that British cultural clashes with Annie John’s character development throughout the story. Although Annie rejects the British social standards, these aspects of her environment are constantly evoked by the often criticized English characters in the story. Therefore, Jamaica Kincaid establishes a constant struggle between the coexistence of these cultures and shows the difficulty Annie has to find her own cultural identity.
The Role of Names in Annie John and Wide Sargasso Sea
Jean Rhys’ novel Wide Sargasso Sea, Antoinette Cosway, during her childhood is discriminated for being “Creole” by the children she comes in contact with. Such discrimination leads to name calling such as “white cockroach” and “white nigger”. Antoinette later faces oppression by her husband, Mr. Rochester, who then changes her name to Bertha. For Annie John in Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John, life is different. Annie realizes that the experiences she has during her childhood and the people she comes in contact to allow her to create her own identity. Both female protagonists in these novels face similar situations especially during childhood but they both deal with it differently. Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John and Jean Rhys Wide Sargasso Sea through Annie’s and Antoinette’s experiences explain the importance, its connection to the past and how it becomes a part of the human identity
Names are given as a means of connecting with culture and history, it also carries a symbolic significance. As Antoinette in Wide Sargasso Sea states, “Names Matter: (Rhys 147). As a result of slavery and European domination, many slaves were stripped of their ancestral identity. Many if not all were denied to keep their own names which would help them in identifying their African roots. According to Burton, “…unnaming and renaming of new arrivants from Africa was for their masters, an integral part of taking possession” (Burton 41). As an African or descendant of Africans, not only is the United States but in the Caribbean as well, naming can be seen as a part of upholding culture, constructing one’s identity and sometimes a form of resistance. As Fitzpatrick explains, Africans reclaiming and retaining their name is a form of showing and understanding how they survived under the oppressive system of enslavement, and adjusting to their new strange environment” (Fitzpatrick 12). At the beginning of Kincaid’s Annie John, instead of introducing the readers directly to the protagonist by name, she tells of the childhood experiences Annie encounters and how each made an impact on her as an individual. Readers are informed of different stages of Annie’s development and by doing so Kincaid shows that the name was of significance importance until Annie became of age and can identify herself as such. At the end of the novel, Annie declares her name, “My name is Annie John” (Kincaid 130). Then there is Rhys Antoinette Cosway who is introduced to the readers as “white nigger” and “white cockroach” (Rhys 13-14), then as Antoinette, and finally as Bertha. Names are not only important as part of our identity but also as part of our past.
In both novels, Annie John and Antoinette’s name mirrors their past and their mother. Annie acknowledges her roots and is firmly rooted with her African descendants. Name is a part of tone’s “origin, color, position, and parentage” (Burton 38). In Annie John, Annie is not forced to accept who she is not and neither is she uncertain or the community she belongs to (Sandstrom 25). To show her connections to her roots, she is also named after her mother, Annie who is very attached to until she reaches puberty. As Murdoch explains, Annie “identifies with the image of the other in the form of her mother in an effort to establish a coherent self” (Murdoch 325). Similar to Annie John, Antoinette’s name reflects that of her mother, Annette. When compared to Annie, Antoinette is called by another name in order for her to lose connections with her roots. She is referred to as “white cockroach” and “white nigger” to emphasize her mixture as well as her status amongst the ex-slaves (Rhys 13-14). Further, into the novel, Antoinette is renamed Bertha by her husband Mr. Rochester. He assigns her a new name in order for her to lose connections whit who is and where she comes from. He also wants to distance her from anything that has to do with her mother. Rochester’s fear is that Antoinette will have the same fate as her mother. Giving Antoinette another name instead of her own is a form of “othering” (Tyson 420). Rochester, the epitome of the colonial masters, renames his wife because it is how he demonstrates his power within the relationship and longing to see the “ideal European woman” in her. The numerous labels given to Antoinette in Wide Sargasso Sea is a form of stripping her from her past. As Langston cites Veronica Gregg she states, “In renaming Antoinette Bertha, the husband does not succeed in changing her but instead splitting her identity” (166). Changing Antoinette’s name is the only way Mr. Rochester is able to separate her from her past and hope for a rebirth (Mziel 32). When Rochester sees he cannot change her to the English woman he desires, he turns her mad instead.
Having a name and accepting it is the only way one can create his or her own human identity. At the end of both novels, Annie and Antoinette find the need to separate themselves from their past. Doing so means that both women are claiming their human identity. When we think of creating our identity, we need to think of the many factors that may influence such from being created. According to Lois Tyson, “We don’t really have an identity because the word identity implies that we comprise one, singular self, but in fact, we are multiple and fragmented, consisting at any moment of many conflicting beliefs, desires, fears, anxieties, and intentions” (Tyson 257). Tyson’s explanation of identity coincides with the experiences Annie faces in the novel. Not only did the women (mother, Gwen and Red Gyal) are important but her contact with the teachers and students at school. She knows that the school wants to impose the colonial beliefs on her and she rejects it. The manner in which Kincaid presents Annie the reader can see clearly how she is detaching herself from the things and persons she loves and becoming the person she wants to be. As Rampaul clearly states, “it is necessary to remember that this identity is a result of a combination of many influences—many of which have been repressive and oppressive” (Rampaul 158).
On the other hand, there is Jean Rhys Antoinette who is not as fortunate as Annie John to own her identity but instead succumb to what Rochester has turned her into. After not being able to erase her past, he turns her into a mad woman. Renaming Antoinette to Berta was a way of telling Antoinette that he was not with her for love but for other reasons (money). Rochester uses the renaming as a way of controlling Antoinette, forcing her to be the person he wants her to be in order to please him. Antoinette does not resist his demands nor does she voice her opinion about the name change but instead she submits to his demands, giving him total power over her identity. Because Antoinette cannot connect any longer with her real self, she faces an identity crisis. As Sandstorm explains in her article, “identity crisis’ … can end negatively, leading to confusion to one’s identity and values” (Sandstrom, 9). It is evident that throughout the novel Wide Sargasso Sea, names matter indeed. “Names matter, like when he wouldn’t call me Antoinette, and I saw Antoinette drifting out the window with her scents, her pretty clothes and her looking glass” (Rhys 180) tells that she is not herself anymore and cannot relate to the person she had become.
Jean Rhys and Jamaica Kincaid present a complex relationship between their respective protagonist naming and how they create their identity. Even though it is not evident that Annie was objectified the way Antoinette was, the struggles in claiming who they are is evident. It is important to embrace our experiences in order to declare why we have become the person we are. Indeed, names do hold an immense power; it embraces our ancestral roots and helps in creating our own human identity.
Gender Relations and Mother-Daughter Relationship in Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John focuses on gender relations and it’s the pattern throughout the novel. Gender relations also affect the mother-daughter relationship. Outside of the actual plot and the main characters, Annie John displays these gender relations specifically and clearly. With gender relations being an independent theme versus the mother-daughter relationship the two themes tie in through the characters and the effect the characters have on each other. To begin the mother-daughter relationship does indeed drive the plot, but not only does it drive the plot it also serves as the primary theme of Annie John.
The way the two themes tie in is through gender relations having an absolute negative effect on the overall mother-daughter relationship that consistently exists and is highlighted throughout the novel. Although Annie’s father seems presentable like a good man he is a part of the overall unequal gender relations that exist in Antigua. The first very outstanding and almost shocking correlation readers see of gender relations is the fact that Annie’s mother is 30 years younger than her father. In Antigua, much like general society, women are unequally treated compared to men. Men can be more open and promiscuous, but women are expected to be conservative. Before meeting Annie’s mother her father had been involved in many different sexual affairs.
The significance of gender relations doesn’t necessarily stem from the text but certain situations embedded in the text. With Annie John being the narrator readers don’t have to ponder about her thoughts, situations, and feelings because she presents all three through text. The novel frequently focuses on the mother-daughter relationship as well as gender issues. Annie John is frequently scolded and feels detached at times from her mother. She is frequently misjudged just by the unsymmetrical weight of gender relations.
This caused her to have tension towards her mother which boils over into a love/hate relationship. This love-hate relationship is carried throughout the plot and is blatantly displayed in various situations within the plot. In her youth, Annie John oftentimes becomes overwhelmed with the anxiety associated with being separated from her mother. Gender relations plays a part in Annie’s overall development because she makes it clear through her actions that she is not interested in what the colonizers, as well as her mother, wants her to become. She begins this rebellion that allows her to sprout and grow into who she wants to be.
In a hostile colonial environment, she develops a rebellious and free spirit, in hopes she will one day break away from her reality. She also clearly sees the gender inequality and counteracts that with her rebellious and feisty spirit. The novel begins to monitor her transitions and character traits. She becomes more belligerent and rebellious leading the mother and daughter relationship to additionally involve complexity. The origins of this deterioration of the mother-daughter relationship stem from Annie John being slapped in the face by the reality of eventual separation from her mother.
Originally her mother’s goal is to mold her into an independent lady. This fails when Annie enrolls in a different school and is separated from her mother. Within this new school, Annie is a new face, in which that new face is required to prove itself in a colonized and intellectual environment. The point in which the plot reincorporates gender relations is when Annie John falls in love with a girl by the name of Gwen. Gwen becomes Annie’s focal point as she seems to transition into a lover of women in general.
This is proven by her interest in a character she refers to as “Red girl”. This red girl seems to live the lifestyle that Annie John strives to live. The red girl is a free spirit who climbs trees exceptionally well, is strategic at marbles, wears dirty attire, and normally bathed once a week. The red girl is a representation of spiritual freedom for Annie John. One day, I was throwing stones at a guava tree, trying to knock down ripe guava, when the Red Girl came along and said, ‘Which one do you want?’ After I pointed it out, she climbed up the tree, picked the one I wanted off its branch, climbed down, and presented it to me. How my eyes did widen and my mouth forms an ‘o’ at this. I had never seen a girl do this before. All the boys climbed trees for the fruit they wanted, and all the girls threw stones to knock the fruit off the trees. But look at the way she climbed that tree: better than any boy” (Kincaid, pg 44).
Annie John was mesmerized not by the red girl, but by the lifestyle that the red girl represented. This caused her character transition to begin the process of alienating and separating herself from the people, environments, and colonial power that all would’ve played a part in her molding into what others wanted her to be vs what she wanted for herself. Once Annie John moves to an upper class because of her intelligence she gets separated from Gwen, which contributes to her alienation. This alienation eventually becomes routinely common leading her to make her final decision towards the end of the novel. On top of the colonial power she is subjected to and her emotional responses, she develops a state of depression.
In this depression, she cocoons herself in separation from her family and her friends. The novel at times is difficult to dissect due to Kincaid’s writing form. Her writing form is not in the traditional sense but instead focuses on the run-on sentences as well as paragraphs that end in fragments. Once the plot focuses on Annie’s separation readers can also see relationships Annie John once cherished become under-appreciated. These relationships are presented in a different light due to the verbiage Abbie John selects. “Or so I was told by Gwen, formerly the love of my life, now reduced to an annoying acquaintance. (Kincaid, pg 72). This shows readers that Annie John not only discards her once cherished relationships but that she is even somewhat annoyed with the fact that those relationships continue to exist. In her moments of isolation within the plot, readers can precisely point out the element of deerskin within Annie’s dialogue and decisions. All of these things are based on the deterioration of the mother-daughter relationship and also gender relations, and the complexity of them.
Gender relations continue to push the plot towards a point of focusing solely on Annie and what she’s currently feeling. This allows for readers to depict her in the light of her choice because she manipulates the text due to the fact she has the power and luxury of being the narrator. This power and luxury also come with an extensive restless ration of her thoughts and feelings. With these additional thoughts and feelings, readers get a glimpse of how it feels and what she’s experiencing as she’s living within her reality. The red girl is a representation of what she aspired her lifestyle to be and also her defense in her fight against gender relations and the issues associated with them.
Jamaica Kincaid allows for readers to not stray away from the overall message but to indulge in it further. In a novel such as this one that possesses many different themes it’s challenging to find a distinct pattern and even though this is difficult there are streams of patterns intertwined within the plot. These patterns are all controlled and manipulated by Annie John so that readers can understand clearly why she makes the decisions she makes throughout life and the novel. By the conclusion of the novel, readers can easily see the two themes of focus combine and results in the ending of the novel.
By the end of the novel, Jamaica Kincaid gives readers an overview of colonial life not only in Antigua but also as a young girl with a struggling mother with her relationship and a colonialist society pressuring her to become someone and something she’s not. By the conclusion of the novel, Annie John becomes so depressed, frustrated, and isolated she distances herself from anything and everyone she has established a relationship with in life. She eventually extends that isolation by choosing to leave home for nursing school in England. Jamaica Kincaid is not only a historical black writer, but she’s also a preserved of feminism and displays her bold characteristics through her characters and her work.
Family Relationships in Annie John Novel
The relationship between Annie and her mother is the most important theme of the novel. The anxiety and disputes provoked by their alienation is what drives the plot, what starts the novel and finishes it. It is crucial to understand Annie’s claims that her mother is trying to exclude her, as they are what makes Annie live her life as she does. We will explore whether her claims are valid or not through different means: first of all, the way we see Annie’s mom is subjective as we can only see her through Annie’s point of view, secondly, her mother seemed like a really nice and caring person, and is respected by everyone else, finally, Annie is overreacting to what her mother says or does, therefore imagining their alienation.
It is important to note that the novel is written in the first person, we see the world through Annie John’s eyes. Our opinion of the characters is therefore biased because they are in reality Annie’s opinion, which change overtime as she learns. There is no dialogue, therefore no outside view. The narrator is unreliable. Annie’s point of view also changes over time as she grows up and therefore learns to form her own opinion and live her own life. This is shown when Annie believes her mother is repulsed by her: “What a new thing this was for me: my mother’s back turned on me in disgust.”, we cannot know if her mother’s back is really turned in disgust. The word disgust is an especially powerful word as it means that Annie’s mother has a strong aversion for Annie. It is not very believable that a mother would have such strong feelings towards her child, especially because Annie and her mother were very close before. We can see that Annie imagines things that are not real, she imagines her mother hating her and being disgusted by her even though she cannot justify it.
Annie’s hatred for her mother comes from her childhood fear of being abandoned, although she never actually was, by her mother, she has panic attacks and overreacts to everything that might have to do with her being excluded. Annie’s hatred for her mother roots from two key moments in the novel. First of all, her recurring dream about being abandoned: “Over and over I would have the dream—only in it my mother never came back, and sometimes my father would join her.” In this quote, we can see that Annie deeply fears being abandoned by her mother as she has the dream ‘over and over’, which means that she cannot get the thought out of her head. A dream is an idea or vision that is created in your imagination and that is not real This shows her obsession with this fear, to the point that she imagines it even though she doesn’t actually live it. Secondly, Another way this is shown is when she panics for trivial things. For example, when her mother says: ‘”Oh, no. You are getting too old for that. It’s time you had your own clothes. You just cannot go around the rest of your life looking like a little me.”‘ Annie reacts as if this was the end of the world: ‘To say that I felt the earth swept away form under me would not be going too far.’ Annie does not accept that her mother and herself are different people. She thinks that this is an attempt from her mother to alienate and therefore abandon Annie. Once again, she imagines a separation that is not really there. The words ‘swept away from under me’ suggest that someone has taken something from Annie and that she cannot stand anymore. This is a huge overreaction as her mother simply suggests that she should have her own clothes. These types of distresses are common for Annie. She has panic attacks throughout the books and very brutal reactions to things that are considered normal: “I was sure I could never let those hands touch me again; I was sure I could never let her kiss me again. All that was finished.” We can see that Annie is overreacting here also, as she doesn’t want her mother to touch her anymore because she has seen her parents make love. With the words ‘all that’, Annie suggests that everything that constitutes their loving relationship has been destroyed. Annie feels as if she is being excluded from her parents’ relationship, and she doesn’t want to accept it. She thinks by having sex with her father, her mother is replacing her and that she is no longer her top priority. However, Annie cannot prove this, it is only in her head, making her hatred unjustifiable.
At first, Annie’s mother seems like a caring person, and everyone else respects her, Annie’s hatred is not shared by anyone, which doesn’t make it believable. At the market, Annie’s mother is solicited and respected by everyone and she is portrayed as an influential and powerful figure. When she is with her mother, Annie feels special: “How important I felt to be with my mother. “. The word ‘important’ conveys a sense of power and value, Annie’s mother is the most crucial person in the marketplace and everyone wants her attention. We can see that everyone else therefore respects her. Annie’s reasons for her hatred are not credible because not one else shares her opinion. Annie’s mother therefore seems like a very respectable person. This is also shown when Annie is sick. Her parents care for her as if she was still a child, proving that they care a lot about her and that her aversion for her mother is totally unjustified. ‘I was fifteen years old, but the two of them handled me as if I were just born. ‘ When a baby is born is when the parents’ love is usually at its maximum. We can see with the way her parents care for Annie that they still love her as they loved her on the day she was born. The fact that she is fifteen years old but still needs to be taken care of like a new-born child also shows her immaturity and her emotional dependence. We can conclude that Annie has totally blown out of proportion what she thinks was her parents excluding her from their relationship. In the final scene, Annie mother tells her that she still loves her: “It doesn’t matter what you do or where you go, I’ll always be your mother and this will always be your home”. This is one of the only times when we hear Annie’s mother true voice through Annie’s internal monologue. The word ‘mother’ is often associated with maternal love, caring and support; Annie’s mother is therefore seen as a traditional mother who cares for her child. The word ‘home’ also conveys this idea of hospitality and warmth, which is contradictory to the whole of Annie’s adolescence. This touching last moment contradicts everything Annie thought she knew about how her mother viewed her. However, she is still bitter and the reader doesn’t know if she believes her mother or not. These last words unveil the mother’s true feelings and show that Annie’s hatred was never justifiable.
We can now clearly assess that Annie’s hatred for her mother is unjustifiable, as it does not have a valid reason and isn’t proven by any thing else than Annie’s imagination. It is important to state that their alienation was partly imagined by Annie and fully caused by these imaginations, as we can now see that she needed to believe her mother hated her to fully become independent.
Children Issues in Annie John Novel
Growing Up and Separation: Rebellion in Annie John
In The Hunger Games when Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark eat the poisonous berries at the end of the games, they rebel against the games and challenge the authority of the leaders in the Capitol. This process is necessary for Peeta and Katniss, because they learn how to assert themselves and rebel against authority as part of the process of growing up. Jamaica Kincaid, an Antiguan native who moved to London as a teenager to escape her country and family, uses the same theme of rebellion in Annie John. Annie rebels to disobey her mother in order to leave her shadows and become her own person. While Annie never thinks to rebel, she later does it to shape her identity.
The inseparable, innocent bond between Annie and her mother shows that Annie would not rebel, because she does not know how to do so. Annie’s mother and Annie go to town, do the laundry, and make the beds together daily, while Annie watches and looks up to her mother. Because of their close bond, Annie and her mother “often [take] a bath together” (14). Kincaid uses the bath to symbolize the innocence in Annie and her mother’s relationship. The closeness and comfort in their relationship is still present, revealing that not only is their bond physical but also emotional, so Annie naïvely believes that their relationship will always be this way. However, Annie learns that this belief is unrealistic when her mother begins to turn her back on her. After Annie receives a certificate in school, she rushes home to show it to her mom, because she believes “with this prize [she] would reconquer [her] mother” (30). Kincaid uses the certificate to represent the strong yearning Annie has to impress her mother. Annie believes that through her actions she regain the “prize” of her mothers approval, because she thinks that with her actions, she can regain her mothers attention and reclaim the pleasant feelings her mother previously had towards her. Because she is so set on pleasing her mother, Annie never thinks to rebel because her mother is the most important person in her life.
As Annie gets older and becomes more experienced, she realizes that everything is not as pleasing and virtuous as she previously thought, so she begins to rebel. While Annie’s class discusses how Christopher Columbus came to America, her teacher claims that he is a hero, but Annie disagrees. Annie is caught writing under a photograph of Christopher Columbus in her textbook that he “Can No Longer Just Get Up And Go” because he is caught in chains (78). Christopher Columbus is used as a symbol to represent Annie’s feelings towards her country: she is caught in the chains of colonialism and feels like she is stuck in Antigua, a place with few options for a young woman. Out of her negative and rebellious feelings towards colonialism, Annie desecrates Columbus to show the disobedience and defiance she feels toward her country. Not only is Annie now rebelling against her country, but her parents as well. Although Annie would never do this before, she now starts going to “the lighthouse behind [her] mothers back” (58). The lighthouse serves as a symbol for Annie’s desire to go behind her mothers back as a form of rebellion. Annie challenges her mother’s orders by choosing to go to the lighthouse because it offers her guidance out of her mother’s darkness. Annie now is rebelling to make her parents angry and out of disobedience.
Annie soon finds herself and becomes more confident so she begins to rebel due to this positive view she has. In becoming her own person, Annie rebels towards other people in order to show her confidence. Rather than clinging to people like Annie previously did, she now leaves “people’s presence if they [do] or [say] something [she] [does] not care for” (129). Out of confidence, Annie now rebels against her peers by not worrying about what they think about her and only caring about what she thinks about herself. Annie is no longer hiding in her mother’s shadow by trying to be like her, but now has the ability to be confident in her own self. Because of her negative view of colonialism and Antigua in general, Annie takes the final step in rebelling against her country by moving away. Annie then sets sail to London to become a nurse on “a ship… [that] would sail to Barbados” (130). Annie realizes that her country is evoking thoughts of her days of depression and is a constant reminder of her mother’s previously coddling ways, so she leaves. Although Annie thinks that leaving Antigua is a big step in her rebellious life, in reality, she is doing the same thing her mother did by moving away from her native country in order to form a new life for herself. Annie’s mother moved to Antigua from Dominica and now Annie is moving to London from Antigua to lead a life just like her mother did.
Parents must push their children to take the first leap in finding themselves, forcing them to become confident in themselves to recognize their full potential. Although this process may seem unnecessary and unfair to the child at the time, the process is essential to growing up and creating an identity. In moving away, rebelling against her parents, and becoming more self-confident, Annie follows in Peeta and Katniss’ footsteps as she “eats the berries” of rebellion.
Similar ideas in Annie John And Things Fall Apart Novels
In conducting an analysis of the two postcolonial works Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe there are multiple postcolonial themes present in both of these works. The primary focus of this paper will be to examine the way in which the course themes of religion, marriage, and education are manifested in these two works. Note will be given to how the subjects appear similar or different in these works, as well as how much emphasis the author seems to put on these postcolonial themes.
Another important aspect in looking at these works is the representation of Christians in the postcolonial work. In particular, the way missionaries are portrayed is where the emphasis will lie. The final aspect of this paper will be to talk about a Christian response to injustices that may have been portrayed in the works. The way Christians as global “neighbors” should respond to what has been done to native people who have been colonized.
Religion is the first topic between the two books that should be given thought. Religion is very important to native cultures and it is something that colonizers wish to do away with when they arrive in a country and take it over. In Annie John Kincaid gives the reader an idea of what the religion of the native Antiguan culture is all about. She talks about Obeah, a form of Voodoo, which is practiced and adhered to by her mother. Part of the novel is a story about Annie becoming ill and what is done to try and heal her. Her mother calls in a woman who is in touch with the spirits to try and help out Annie’s condition.
The woman comes and does things in a different manner than a standard doctor. Annie says that, “She told my mother, after a careful look around, that there were no spirits in my room or in any other part of the house.”(Kincaid 117) This scene where Annie is sick gives the reader an idea of what some people believed in Antigua. Annie’s mother is the one in her house who believes in the native religion, her father puts his faith in the modern medicine brought by the colonizers. He comes into Annie’s room when the Obeah woman leaves and, “he looked at all the medicines-Dr. Stephen’s and Ma Jolie’s- lined up side by side and screwed up his face, the way he did when he didn’t like what he saw.”(Kincaid 117) This shows the father’s disbelief in the religion of his culture and how he puts his faith elsewhere. However, Annie’s mother still puts her faith in Obeah.
Religion is a theme Kincaid chooses to only mention briefly. She gives her thought to other subjects besides religion in her work. There are a few times when Annie mentions religion or at least she implies her religiousness. Annie mentions at one point how, “When [she] came home from Sunday school, [they] would sit down to [their] Sunday dinner.”(Kincaid 14) There are several other brief mentions of religion in this work, but Kincaid is focused on other issues and that is apparent. In Annie John it appears there is not outright animosity between the religion of the colonizers and the religion of native Antiguans. Religion is an issue, which Kincaid briefly deals with, showing how it was somewhat unimportant to her way of life.
Things Fall Apart presents a culture very different from the Antiguan’s in terms of their religious beliefs and practices. People in Umuofia society, and the other villages in the area, are deeply concerned with the spiritual and supernatural. All people in the society accept basic spiritual truths. Okonkwo and his family, as members of Ibo society, are ruled by practices they must follow. There is the story of Okonkwo’s wife Ekwefi and the children she had that kept dying. Okonkwo wanted to fix the problem so he went to a medicine man to figure out what to do, “This man told him that the child was an ogbanje, one of those wicked children who, when they died, entered their mothers’ wombs to be born again.”(Achebe 77) This society has explanations and remedies for events based on their religion. Fear and control are elements of this religion as well. The town’s spirits decide important matters and have the final say in what will happen in the village. The situation with Ikemufuna is an example of this, and it also shows how the religion violates some basic human rights.
Ikemufuna is taken into Umuofia as a peace offering from another village because of a crime that was committed. Okonkwo takes care of the boy and then one day an elder comes to talk to Okonkwo about Ikemufuna. The elder informs Okonkwo that, “‘Yes, Umuofia has decided to kill him. The Oracle of the Hills and Caves has pronounced it. They will take him outside Umuofia as is the custom and kill him there.”(Achebe 57) This gives a clear view of what the native religion’s system relies on, the word of oracles, diviners, and medicine men.
Achebe goes on his book to introduce Christianity, which shows up in a different light than in Kincaid’s work. Christianity is a completely different religion from what the people in Ibo society are used to following. The people of Ibo society are shaken by what the practices of the Christians. The Christians took in twins, who were considered abominations. There were also “outcasts, or osu, seeing that the new religion welcomed twins and such abominations, thought that it was possible that it was possible that they would also be received.”(Achebe 155) Achebe presents a more obvious controversy between the religion of the Ibo and Christianity. The reason this controversy is more apparent in his work is because the Ibo culture places such emphasis on the spiritual. Achebe’s work in contrast to Kincaid’s spends a lot of time dealing with the religious aspects of colonization.
Society is affected by new ideas especially when there is great controversy involved. Switching to a different subject, marriage as a gender issue is addressed in both Kincaid’s and Achebe’s works. Marriage can be seen as a means of establishing gender roles and it informs people as to how they should act.
In Annie John the institution of marriage is fairly standard as far as European marriages are concerned. Annie only has one mother and one father. There is never mention of any polygamous marriages being practiced. Although, Annie does find out that her father was involved with more than one woman before her mother. Kincaid shows how women are pitted against one another in postcolonial culture by talking about the attitude they have towards each other. Annie says that bad things happen sometimes as a result of, “one of the many women [her] father had loved, had never married, but with whom he had had many children was trying to harm my mother and me by setting bad spirits on us.”(Kincaid 15) This attitude of women hating each other over men is engrained into Annie’s young mind. She remembers walking with her mother and, “[She] would hear an angry voice saying angry things, and then, after [they] had passed the angry voice, [her] mother would release [her].”(Kincaid 17) Annie learns about the dynamics of marriage and the role of men and women in this way.
The society Annie lives in is patriarchal, and the men are in control of the important matters in marriage. Annie’s father works and takes care of getting money and does physical things as well. The father built the house they live in. He goes off to work everyday to take care of the family’s needs. Annie’s mother stays at home most of the time taking care of household duties, making food, and she will run errands to pick up food or clothing materials. The father has the final say in most situations. For example, the situation where Annie’s father disliked what he saw with the medicines on the shelf, he took the Obeah medicine and put it behind the modern medicine. Marriage and gender relations/roles are something Kincaid focuses on frequently. Most of the stories in her work deal with Annie’s interactions with people and say something about the way Annie should act.
Things Fall Apart gives a lot of explanation about marriage in Ibo culture. Achebe presents a clear picture of the way things are run in Okonkwo’s household his society. Marriage, in Ibo culture, is different from the standard marriage of two people for life. In Ibo society marriage is polygamous, men can marry more women as they grow older and it is socially acceptable. The more wives a man had the better, wives were seen as a status symbol. People said Okonkwo was going to go places in life because, “He was a wealthy farmer and had two barns full of yams, and had just married his third wife.”(Achebe 8) Okonkwo’s wives were listed like they were just another one of his possessions. It was an accomplishment for Okonkwo to have three wives and their children, because it showed he was wealthy enough to care for all those people.
Women are subordinate to men in the Ibo society and Achebe makes a point of showing this relationship in the household of Okonkwo. Okonwo’s wives are expected to do what he says without question. Okonkwo is described as ruling, “his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest, lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and so did his little children.”(Achebe 13) The way things happened on Okonkwos’s compound were simple. Everyone would work during the day doing their respective duties around the compound or running errands, and the wives would fix Okonkwo his meals. They would then send their children to deliver the dishes to Okonkwo. It is clear who is in charge of the household.
Marriage in Ibo society is not based as much on love as it is based on economic interests. Achebe presents a scene where the reader can really draw an understanding of this way of thinking. Okonkwo goes to his friend’s house to be apart of the bargaining for a bride price. Okonkwo’s friend Obierika is looking at a girl who will marry his son, Achebe describes his as having, “surveyed her young body with expert eyes as if to assure themselves that she was beautiful and ripe.”(Achebe 71) This scene shows how marriage was more an economic deal between families as opposed to something based on love. The bride’s family brings all sorts of gifts and food for the festivities. The suitors also have to have some type of money to negotiate the bride price. There are negotiations for the bride price that take place involving some bartering using broomsticks to represent bags of cowries. “In this way Akuke’s bride-price was finally settled at twenty bags of cowries. It was already dusk when the tow parties came to an agreement.”(Achebe 73) Looking at all of these events and situations put together gives the reader an view of what marriage was in Ibo society.
Education is another issue both Achebe and Kincaid choose to focus on in their works. It is a force shaping the lives of the people in both Antiguan society and Ibo society. The manner in which people are educated is different the two books.
Annie’s education comes primarily from a white colonist’s perspective. A lot of value and importance is placed upon the education Annie receives. Kincaid focuses on the way in which Annie is educated. In particular how students are educated to have a desire for the colonizer’s culture. A clear example of this is when Annie and her schoolmates write personal essays in their first day of class. Most of the children choose to write essays that in some way pertain to colonial culture. For example, “One girl told of a much revered and loved aunt who now lived in England and of how much she looked forward to one day moving to England to live with her aunt.”(Kincaid 40) This shows how children are educated by their colonists to believe in a better country than their own. England is presented as a culturally more sophisticated and better than Antigua.
There is a theme in postcolonial literature associated with education that appears in Kincaid’s work. The theme is one called historical amnesia. It refers to the way in which colonizers rewrite the history of the country they inhabit. Kincaid talks about this in the scene where Annie is learning about Columbus in her class. Annie says how, “Miss Edward asked a question the answer to which was ‘On the third of November 1493, a Sunday morning, Christopher Columbus discovered Dominica.’ “(Kincaid 75) The answer is an example of how the native people are denied existence by the colonizers and this theme of historical amnesia is brought to the forefront. Annie is looking in her textbook at a painting with the title “Columbus In Chains” and she writes the phrase “The Great man can no longer just get up and go.”(Kincaid 78) Annie’s teacher ends up seeing this written under the picture and is quite upset with Annie for what she wrote.
Annie comments on her teacher’s attitude towards her, “I had gone too far this time, defaming one of the great men in history, Christopher Columbus, discoverer of the island that was my home.”(Kincaid 82) Education is based on a colonialist view and it negates the culture and history of Antigua. Kincaid does not show any other type of education as being used as prominently as this white colonial education. Achebe presents education in a different manner than Kincaid presents education. In his work there are two types of education that can be examined pre-colonial and the type of education that is used when the white colonists arrive.
Education in Ibo society is in stark contrast to what Annie John experienced growing up being educated in the colonist’s point of view. The primary mode of education in Ibo society is oral tradition. It is through stories and myths that children and adults alike communicate the society’s values and norms. These stories also tell people about nature and why things are the way they are in the empirical world. Okonkwo educates his boys by telling them stories he considers masculine, and communicate masculine values. Achebe tells how “Okonkwo encouraged the boys to site with him in his obi, and he told them stories of the land-masculine stories of violence and bloodshed.”(Achebe 53) In this way Okonkwo’s son Nwoye learns about masculinity, and what is considered important for a man in his society. Women in Ibo culture tell stories as well, their stories are of a different nature though. The stories women tell serve to explain nature to their children and give them some basic moral values. One of Okonkwo’s wives Ekwefi and her daughter Ezinma had a story time and Ekwefi explains why the turtle looks like it does.
At the end of the story Ekwefi says, “His shell broke into pieces. But there was a great medicine man in the neighborhood. Tortoise’s wife sent for him and he gathered all the bits of shell and stuck them together. That is why Tortoise’s shell is not smooth.”(Achebe 99) This illustrates the way women told stories in Ibo culture, they educated children about nature and morals.
The type of education that arrives with the whites is quite different from what the people in Ibo society are accustomed to having. There are schools formed by the missionaries and some people are sent off to universities. In Umuofia “one of the great men in the that village was called Akunna and he had given one of his sons to be taught the white man’s knowledge in Mr. Brown’s school.”(Achebe 179) The colonizers were already talking down towards the Ibo culture and their methods of education. One of the missionaries makes an interesting and even prophetic statement over the people that, “the leaders of the land in the future would be men and women who had learned to read and write. If Umuofia failed to send her children to school, strangers would come from other places to rule them.”(Achebe 181)
Education in the white way was presented to the native people as a saving deal. If they accepted this new type of education they would be alright in the end. But if they continued in their “primitive” ways they would fail. The representation of Christians in these works is another important issue to cover. Kincaid gives little mention of Christians in Annie John. There are several instances where Christianity is mentioned, but significant time is not given to discuss it. Annie mentions how she knows what time it is because of the Anglican church bell. She also talks about some girls in her class and says their parents are the sexton and the minister in church. Kincaid does little more than mention Christianity, she does not give a representation of the Christians.
Achebe, however, gives the reader a detailed representation of Christians in the form of two missionaries that come to live in Ibo country. The missionaries are named Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith and they are at opposite ends of the spectrum as far as missionaries and ambassadors of Christ go. Mr. Brown is a more loving example to the people, he is respective of their culture though he disagrees with it. He is successful in wining over some of the people and perking their interest in Christianity because he, “was very firm in restraining his flock from provoking the wrath of the clan.”(Achebe 178) Brown also takes the time to learn about Ibo culture and the Ibo appreciate the fact that he learns about their culture. In talking with a leader in the town Mr. Brown and the leader educate one another about their different beliefs, but conversion does not occur.(Achebe 179) The representation of Christianity portrayed in the character of Mr. Brown is one that the people could stomach somewhat, but Mr. Smith would change their opinion.
Mr. Smith was a different person entirely from who Mr. Brown was and what he tried to implement. Mr. Smith was far more confrontational and controversial in his attitudes and actions towards the Ibo society. “He condemned openly Mr. Brown’s policy of compromise and accommodation. He saw things as black and white.”(Achebe 184) He would openly condemn the practices of the Ibo showed that he was not appreciative of their rich culture at all. There were converts who under Mr. Brown were restrained from their zealous behavior. But when Mr. Smith came to the church “the over-zealous converts who had smarted under Mr. Brown’s restraining hand now flourished in full favor.”(Achebe 185)
The attitude Mr. Smith brings with him drives many people away and creates outright hostility towards Christianity. He is a sad representative of Christianity. Christians reading these works should think to themselves, how should I respond to this? As global neighbors witnessing the injustice heaped on the people of colonized cultures what should the response be? As people commissioned to show love to God and to our neighbors how should Christians respond? There are many things that can be taken from these stories and applied to the Christian’s life and their attitudes. It is important to value other’s cultures and appreciate them. Culture is such a large part of who people are and to negate it is a great injustice to people that are created by God and whose life is equally important to any other. Christians should know that these people have worth and are known by God. An attitude that is important is to realize how much these people are worth to God and the love he has for them should be something Christians emulate.
The band Thrice makes a powerful point in their song “Image of the Invisible”, they tell the listener that, “We are all named, and we are all known.” Christians can do a lot to help out those who have been hurt by injustice in the past if they learn to love their neighbors and appreciate their value.
A Providing Theme of Annie John Novel
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.
What Is Annie John About
Annie John is a story of a life of a young girl and her relationship with her mother. The story starts out with Annie being ten years old and has a very close bond with her mother. During the summer months her mother lets her sleep in, takes hot baths with her and adds herbs and spices to relax them. She takes her into the town and shows her how to shop for produce and get the best prices. Annie sees her mother as very beautiful and very wise. It doesn™t talk much about her father but only that he has many partners and children before her mother and her mother is often yelled at on the streets by these women. One day Annie came home from school to find her parents making love and she feels alone. She is jealous and rejected when she sees them because she feels like she is not part of their union. She really looks at her mother coldly because of this because she felt betrayed of their special relationship.
Annie starts school and finds a girl and quickly becomes best friends with her. The girls name is Gwen. At school Annie is liked by all the teachers because of her good writing skills and good grades and also by all the children because she is good at sports and she stands up for everyone. Annie and Gwen walk to and from school everyday but Annie soon learns that she is using their friendship to ease her feelings of being neglected by her mother, and she also learns that it is not working very well. She then finds another girl to be friends with who calls her self the Red Girl. This girl is not like Annie and starts to get her in trouble. She lies, plays dirty and steals things. Her mom catches her one day with her stolen items and demands that she is showed the rest of the things. Annie denies everything and takes joy in her mother™s inability to find them. The Red Girl soon moves away and Annie learns to grow up.
Annie begins to get bored at school and starts to read ahead in her books. She finds a picture of Christopher Columbus in jail and writes beside it œA great man can no longer move. The teacher finds this and Annie is punished for her improper behavior. She is disciplined at school and then returns home in hope of being comforted by her parents. Only that her parents seem to be to into each other and don™t even realize her misery. Annie now feels complete betrayal of her mother and grows hatred for her. She goes into a state of depressed and is bed ridden for 3 months. No on is able to cure her sickness until her grandmother comes and just sits with her, holding her night after night.
After Annie turned seventeen, she decides to leave Antigua and goes to England to study nursing. On her trip to the boat that is going to separate her from her family, she thinks about her childhood and the love there used to be and realizes there is no room for her at her house anymore. She gets on the boat with big expectations of the future and disregards her parent™s wave™s goodbye
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.