A mother and daughter relationship is like a story that begins with a loving and intimate scene and ends sorrowfully when they drift apart to live their own lives. Many mothers are dominant figures that control their daughters’ lives, and it results in their daughter not having her own identity. In Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid, Annie’s life is in the shadow of her mother and when her mother begins to push her away slowly, she has a strong hatred for her mother. Annie’s mother is a caring, nursing and controlling parent that influences Annie into being a silent and untrustworthy person.
In the beginning of the story, Annie’s mother illustrates her love and care for Annie. In doing so, she displays her love by bonding and spending time with her, watching over her and keeping her healthy. Her mother shows her first act of love by taking long baths with Annie. The long baths demonstrates her mother’s love and care she has for Annie by spending time to clean and wash Annie. In addition, she brings Annie to Rat Island to help her “weak kidneys and a bath in the sea a strengthening remedy” (42). This clearly shows her mother’s love that she went to the sea to help Annie’s weak kidney and to strengthen her body. Next, her mother’s second act of love is taking care of Annie when Annie becomes sick. Annie’s mother goes through a lot to help cure Annie, like visiting the doctor with her husband and nursing Annie each day.
Her mother and father bring her to the doctor and find out that she is a “little run-down” (110). Annie’s mother becomes concerned and tells Dr. Stephens, “she certainly would redouble her efforts at making eat properly, feeding more beef tea, more barley water, more vitamins more eggs and milk” (110-111). Her quote shows how dedicated she is to help Annie feel better. Furthermore, her mother stays up “all hours of the night” (118) with her father and “ afraid to leave alone in the day” (118). This proves the support and care her mother and father has by being at her side every time. Lastly, Annie’s mother love act ends with tricking Annie into eating breadfruit as “it’s very good for filled with lots of vitamins” (84). Her mother makes her eat something she hates, but it is keep to Annie healthy.
However, despite the fact that Annie’s mom is affectionate and compassionate, she is still a dominate figure that is controlling and demanding to Annie. When Annie decides to discover and experience the freedom of being herself, she gets in deep trouble. Annie receives marbles from the Red Girl and becomes a skilful marble player who “ spare time to playing and winning marbles” (60). Afterwards, she has a marble collection and later on, her mother finds out about her playing marble, which ends her marble playing and the relationship with the Red Girl. Annie’s mother pesters and torments Annie each day to find her marble collection. As she is eager to find Annie’s marble collection that she “ under the house and a furious and incredible search for Annie’s marbles” (60). In the end, her mother never finds her marble collection, but the story hints that Annie menstruates and stops playing marbles and with the Red Girl. To come to an end, Annie’s mother was so authoritative and controlling, that the story hints that Annie menstruates and makes her think, “all the time I been kept prisoner under the watchful gaze of my mother” (62).
Although Annie’s mother is oppressive and commanding, she is the main ingredient for burning and revealing Annie’s rebellious side. Annie’s mother pierces many truthful deep words into Annie that infuriates her into imaging, “my mother would kill me if she the chance. I would kill my mother if I had the courage” (89). The beginning of Annie’s dark side is rebelling against her mother and becoming free. Annie rebels against her mother by keeping many secrets behind her mother’s back like the marble collection, the Red Girl and Gwen. In doing so, Annie becomes a “good liar” (63) that lies about her whereabouts and begins to steal money from her parents’ safe and library books from the Public Library of Antigua. In addition, when Annie’s mother calls Annie a “slut” (102), she felt as if “ was drowning in a well filled with the word “slut” (102). To revolt against her mother, she replies, “like mother like daughter” (102). Once Annie replies with the rude and unpleasant remark, her mother responds in a crushing and powerful way, “until this moment, in my whole life I knew without a doubt that, without any exception, I you best” (103). Those were powerful words from a mother that would make a daughter commit suicide. When Annie departs Antigua for nursing in England, she thinks that “ shall never see this again” (145) which is literally true but her mother, father, friends and Antigua will always stay with her in her memories and in her life. As well, her mother is the major reason that she leaves Antigua to live her own life and on her freewill.
There are several reasons that Annie’s mother is a providing, protective, selfish and authoritative person that creates an appalling person inside of Annie. Annie’s mother is an intriguing character that changes during the story and has one specific perspective of Annie which is to follow in her footsteps. Throughout this story, Annie and her mother’s relationship separate when they understand their similarities and differences. In conclusion, Annie’s mother is a very overpowering person that should let Annie become independent once she’s a teenager.