Water World (Annie John Paper)

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Water World Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John is often described as a mother daughter-relationship, and the more political relationship of the colonizer and the colonized. Though Kincaid’s work cannot be analyzed without those historical and political aspects, there is a natural side, water, and a more universal side, the protagonist’s growth, that is also focused upon. The use of a water motif in Annie John plays an important role throughout the novel. Kincaid effectively puts several meanings to the water motif. Water is used to nurture Annie, and to cleanse her so she can stand independent of her mother-daughter relationship and her home of Antigua. Though the first initiation of water in the novel may symbolize a strong connection between Annie and her mother, water is thereafter applied as a voyage that breaks this familial bond. Annie John is the initiation of a young girl’s journey to independence. Water first appears in the novel when Annie John is a ten year old living on the coast of Antigua. A ritualistic bath scene takes place between Annie and her mother: “My mother and I often took a bath together...It was a special bath, in which the barks and flowers of many different trees, together with all sorts of oils, we boiled in the same cauldron. As we sat in this bath, my mother would bathe different parts of my body; then she would do the same with herself” (Kincaid, 14). Here, the water in the bath makes Annie feel comfortable, content, and nurtured because it is overly prepared by her mother with the Antiguan obeah herbs. This particular scene symbolizes Annie’s attachment to the mother-daughter relationship her mother and she share. The protagonist lives in a world where her mother is the core. As they bathe, Annie’s body becomes that of her mother’s symbolizing purification and nurturing. By taking these special baths Annie gets comfort physically and
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