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Jamaica Kincaid: Bio (1). Born Elaine Potter Richardson in St. Johns, Antigua in 1949 father: a carpenter and cabinetmaker, mother: a homemaker and political activist. Left Antigua when she was 17. Jamaica Kincaid: Bio (2).

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Jamaica Kincaid: Bio (1)

  • Born Elaine Potter Richardson in St. Johns, Antigua in 1949

  • father: a carpenter and cabinetmaker,

  • mother: a homemaker and political activist.

  • Left Antigua when she was 17.


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Jamaica Kincaid: Bio (2)

  • As the eldest of four, and the only girl, she was apprenticed to a seamstress, then plucked from school, where she was excelling, and sent to the US as an au pair ("really a servant")

  • changed her name to Jamaica Kincaid because her family disapproved of her writing.


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Antigua

  • A lot more blacks than white people;

  • No experience of “freedom apprenticeship” after Emancipation in 1834. “Freedom was immediate but total.” (Murdoch 99)

  • A British colony till 1967.


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Kincaid and Antigua

  • Within the structure of the British educational system imposed upon Antiguans, Kincaid grew to "detest everything about England, except the literature" (Vorda 79).

  • Expressed the anger at the failure of Antigua independence in her novel A Small Place.

  • Strongly critical of colonialism


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Kincaid about her mother

  • She "should never have had children."

  • “She loves us when we‘re dying - not when we’re thriving because then we don‘t need her.”


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Mother-Daughter Relationship in Annie John

  • Major Factors:

  • Caribbean society: a male-dominated society in which the men are allowed to be irresponsible about housework, and enjoy sexual relationships outside marriage.

  • Mother as a social institution

  • A young girl’s socialization: feminie Oedipus complex


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Mother-Daughter Relationship in Annie John: Examples

  • “The Circling Hand” -- Forced to separate herself from the mother; sent to be educated, witnessing the parents’ sexual intercourse (primal scene).

  • “Columbus in Chain”: mother turned into a crocodile p. 84

  • being called a slut by her mother after conversing with a boy -- “Well, …like mother like daughter” (p. 102)


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Annie’s independence process

  • Pre-occupation with death;

  • Pre-Oedipal symbiosis with the mother

  • Girl friends (Gwen, Red Girl)

  • Resisting British education (Columbus in Chain)

  • Exploring her own sexuality

  • fascination for the father (112-13)

  • Illness; grandmother’s (Ma Chess) care-taking -- a substitute for the mother (pp. 125-26)

  • Leaving Antigua


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The Circling Hand”

  • 1. The symbiotic state: (pp. 13-25)

  • Examples of the daughter’s complete identification with the mother. pp. 13- 19

  • What kind of gender model does the mother offer Annie? What role does the father take in this part? e.g. p. 13-14; 25

  • What’s the significance of the trunk? P. 20


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The Circling Hand” (2)

  • Separation: the changes

  • in Annie’s body p. 25; p. 27

  • her dresses p. 26

  • her schooling -- p. 29

  • the mother’s expectations of her: pp. 28-29


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The Circling Hand” (3)

  • the primal scene

  • the importance of the circling hand? P. 30

  • What role does the father take after this scene?


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A Walk to the Jetty”

  • Contradictorysigns of independence + signs of nostalgia in this chapter?

  • Name, address, her listing of what she “never wants to see”; joy at not having to see them. pp. 130-132.; her attention at what’s “hers” and what’s on her p. 134-35.

  • remembering a lot; the moment of getting out of bed 133

  • contradictory feelings at the wharf: 144; 145, 147


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A Walk to the Jetty”Annie’s views of her parents & marriage

  • What kind of family does Annie have?

  • P. 132

  • How do they look at her day of departure? pp. 134-36

  • Their interaction: p. 136

  • Gwen 137


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Walking away from the past (memories, education and transitional objects)

  • Ms. Dulcie the seamstress, p. 138

  • first experience of buying things 139

  • saving money

  • interests that she has outgrown: glasses, porcelain dog,

  • library


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Indivuation through complete separation

  • Can you relate to her need to leave the place forever? pp. 144-148

  • Are you sympathetic with her hatred of the mother? Pp. 133


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