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.
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