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Allegory for the past relationship between black and white people
When Annie's mother was doing laundry, she often separated the black clothes from the colored clothes. This is an allegory for the relationship between black people and white people, especially during the colonial era. During the colonial times, black and white people were prohibited from mixing socially because of racism.
Allegory of inheriting the trunk
When Annie inherited her mother's trunk, it is an allegory of their life. Her mother often teaches her things like cooking and cleaning to ensure that Annie takes after her. It is therefore an allegory of the continuing learning that Annie has so that when she grows up she could be like her mother.
The novel has a journey motif as character take on journeys. These journeys include when Annie's mother left Dominica for Antigua by boat, when Alexander's Parents left him for South America and Annie's own journey to England to study nursing. These journeys are an illustration of growth for the characters. For example Annie's mother left Dominica for Antigua to get married and have a family. Annie left Antigua for England to study so that she could become a nurse.
Motif of Stories
In the novel, many stories punctuate the main story which is Annie's life. These stories include Alexander's story whereby his parents left him behind and he was raised by his grandparents, Annie's mother had left her parents in Dominica and Annie's story of her mother and her swimming in the ocean. These stories provide insight to the life of the characters. The stories build the characters by telling stories about them.
Allegory of the trust between children and their parents
Annie told a story in class of how when she went swimming with her mother, she only swam when her mother put her on her back. This is an allegory of the trust and relationship between children and their parents.
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