Analysis Of Annie John, Annie, And Her Mother

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Throughout history, society has convinced women and men they have to look and act a certain way depending on their gender. Kincaid’s Annie John illustrates how expectations of men and women differ not only in Antigua, but in many places of the world in the 1950’s. From the beginning, Kincaid portrays women as feminine and males as masculine. The novel shows women as handlers of the domestic roles while men support their families’ financial needs. Furthermore, women and men have to live up to different standards regarding how they act outside of their caretaking roles. Kincaid also shows those who do not conform to society’s gender roles as being viewed negatively. Three of the main characters of Annie John, Annie, her mother, and her…show more content…
Another factor that is essential when analyzing Mr. John’s masculinity, is his lack of expressing his emotions. Alexander’s lack of emotion becomes evident when Annie explains the conversation between her father and a night watchman she states “it was not personal; they didn’t talk about their wives… children, or their parents, or… their likes and dislikes” (144). Also, at the end of the book, Annie expresses that her father “wanted to say something… something that he never said to me before, but then he just turned and walked away” (147). Kincaid’s illustration of Alexander as unemotional adds to his masculine presence.
In contrast to her husband, Mrs. John is emotional and uncoincidentally, also a woman. Where Alexander is the definition of masculine, his wife is the definition of feminine. Throughout the novel, Mrs. John is the caretaker of the household affairs. As the woman it was her duty to cook, clean, and prepare her husband’s baths (Kincaid 13). Mrs. Annie John is also feminine due to her beauty, Annie describes her as having “a beautiful long neck… long hair… a beautiful mouth… [and] big white teeth” (19). Kincaid’s illustration of Mrs. John is important because femininity is associated with beauty. Besides her role as a wife, and her outer appearance, the way she raises Annie also illustrates Mrs. John’s femininity. Annie’s mother tries to ensure that her daughter is the definition of what a “lady” should be. Mrs. John
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