Character Analysis Of Annie John By Jamaica Kincaid

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Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid is a coming-of-age narrative of a young Antiguan girl who traces her physical and psychological journey from an idyllic childhood to young adulthood and a quest for freedom. Kincaid’s narration is a contemplative progress towards individuality and self-awareness that arise out of internal struggle, loss of hope, and the need to break away from the ties of love. Annie’s desire for self-identity and independence spring from her disillusionment with her mother’s love; she realizes that only a great physical distance from her mother and familiar surroundings can enable her to break free and establish her own identity.
The mother-daughter relationship is a vital theme that runs throughout the bitter-sweet narrative to explore the cause of Annie’s yearning for freedom. This relationship was beautiful when Annie was a small child - enfolded in her mother’s tender love, Annie lived in a fulfilled and secure world. When she grows up, the harmony and unconditional love – “the Paradise” (25) of childhood is threatened by the apparent loss of love from her mother and Annie undergoes a mental upheaval. Her emotions are in turmoil – hurt, indignation, anger, and resentment conflict with the love and dependence she has always known. From her inner conflicts arise the urge to assert herself and test invisible boundaries. She yearns for independence and finally makes a momentous choice in moving away from her family and homeland to far-off England. Annie’s teenage emotional struggles finally give her the courage to dare to live alone.
Annie’s struggles start in early adolescence when her mother’s behavior changes. As the only child, when she was small, she was the sole possessor of her mother’s adoration – “no small p...

... middle of paper ... mother as the stimulus for her pursuit for freedom and self-awareness. Annie’s ways to achieve independence of mind and body and her ultimate separation from her mother show us a spirit that seeks to be independent of the shackles of love. Interestingly, the bond of love that initially ties her down and prevents her individuality from surfacing is not her mother’s love but her own love for her mother. But hardened by the loss of hope and the self-awareness that her greatest weakness is her love, Annie finally finds the strength to move away. Weary of adult dictates on how she should behave and equally tired of her own remonstrations, Annie wants space to listen to the wishes of her own heart. By journeying without, Annie is really journeying within to find her core self as distinct from the image that her mother, her friends and her teachers wanted to see in her.

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