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Written by Timothy Sexton
Annie Victoria John
Annie Victoria John is a young, black, female and growing up in Antigua in the British West Indies in the middle of the 20th century. She is extremely close to her mother; so much so that her own sense of identity is inextricably tied with that of her mother. In spite or—or because of this psychic bond—she rebels against her mother’s wishes for her and orders to her and eventually takes flight from home before she reaches the age of 18.
That intertwining bond of identity between mother and child starts with the decision to name her daughter after herself. The young Annie John did not enter into the older‘s world until the mother was 30 years old. The father of Annie Victoria was a carpenter who was much older than his wife. Because much of what can be gathered about the mother is seen through the prism of the daughter, the issue of identity becomes even murkier. The attempt at forced separation results in the rebellion of the younger Annie against the older even as it becomes more and more obvious that the stimulus for rebellion is just Annie John’s way of trying to help her daughter establish a stronger awareness of self.
The carpenter who is charged with making coffins for the surrounding neighborhoods is much more emotionally distant from his daughter primarily because of his advanced age. Annie John may have been older than usual when she had her child, but she is still generationally closer than Alexander.
Gweneth is Annie’s first love. They meet when you and as best friends who draw much closer to each other often do, swear undying allegiance to each other. The arrival of her first period marks for Annie a line of demarcation in her feelings toward Gweneth and the love soon fades away. Although still friends, Gweneth is never again as close to Annie as she once had been.
The Red Girl
The Red Girl is Annie’s pet nickname for the next great desire of Annie’s life after her affair with Gweneth ends. The desire remains mostly within the realm of a crush from a distance because Annie’s mom steps in as an obstruction when she finds out that Annie has been less than untruthful with her.
Annie's grandmother and a very respected healer. When the fancy doctor with the medical degree fails to discover any actual cause behind Annie's sudden illness, Ma Chess comes to the rescue.
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