Anger and depression


The aspect of anger and depression is manifest in various instances in the novels “Annie John” and “Lucy.” Annie’s study and behavior underscore the anger and hatred that she should against the best-performing students. Although she excellently performs in studies, she ironically hats her fellow best-performing students and prefers to hang out with poorly performing students. Annie says, “…Ruth, I liked because she was such a dunce…” (Rohini 9). Annie is always angry with the students who are good in their studies, and her position as a class prefect provides her with an opportunity to expose her anger for the students who academically challenge her in class studies. The fact that every class teacher adores her, unlike other students, she also despises the other students who cannot win the hearts of their teachers despite performing well in class. Annie is deeply depressed because of the fear that her mother will kill her in the future. In the same breath, Annie is stressed of the possibility that she may kill her mother someday. Her obsession with the mundane thoughts is depressing her. The fact that Annie is possessive of her mother means that she is afraid of any change that will separate them. For this reason, Annie has the fear of the unknown. The other cause of Annie’s depression is that she is unable to be the mirror of her mother. First, Annie has a light complexion while she has a dark complexion. Annie’s different complexion evokes questions within Annie who is not certain of the effect of such a variation in their relationship. Annie is depressed because such an issue threatens her bond with her mother. When Annie persuades her mother into the truck ritual, her fears are confirmed when she suddenly hears a voice from the blues.  Kincaid says, “…a person I did not recognize answered in a voice I did not recognize, ‘Absolutely not! You and I don’t have time for that any more…” (83). The strange voice was a premonition, which confirmed of her future separation with her mother. Annie’s mother, Mrs. John failed to prepare her daughter for motherhood; hence the challenges that Annie faces fatter separating with her mother cause depression and state of confusion for Annie. In fact, Annie, in her ignorance, thought that giving birth and marriage are some of the betrayals women conduct against themselves. Kincaid points to motherhood when she says, “…becoming a young lady…” (Rohini 34). When the time comes for Annie and her mother to separate, she is caught by surprise and becomes angry with her mother. She feels that her mother is responsible for her discomfort, although she finds solace in Gwan, a girl she befriends at school. The first change which angers Annie is her mother’s requirement that she dresses differently to have her identity. Mrs. John declares, “…its time you had your own clothes, you just cannot go around the rest of your life looking like a little me…” (Kincaid 26). In this case, Annie is depressed because of her failure to make a distinction between a transition to adulthood, isolation, and lack of care. Annie believes her mother no longer cares for her, yet she cannot find any reason for the move. Annie’s frustration is manifest when she tries to impress her mother with her Sunday school prize. In fact, the jealousy and disgust of Annie upon seeing her mother caressing her father is a manifestation of her depression and naivety. The aftermath of the incident was marked with Annie’s hatred against her mother. The bond between Annie and her mother is strong to an extent that Annie feels betrayed and angry of having her identity and having a life of her own. The tension on the part of Annie is great because the mother has not come out to clarify her move, and the need for Annie to be mature. Annie’s fear of the unknown is manifest in her statement, “…I told her that when I was younger I had been afraid of my mother’s dying, but since I had met Gwen this didn’t matter so much…” (Kincaid 62). This confirms that Annie had always harbored the fear pertaining to the separation with her mother. The pretense both Mrs. John and Annie display before Mr. John is an indication of the tension in their relationship, which is a source of frustration and depression for Annie. Annie says, “…we did our best to keep up appearances, for my father’s sake, but our two black things got the better of us, and even though we didn’t say anything noticeable it was clear that something was amiss…” (Rohini 241).  Annie’s confession is an indication of a deep-seated stand-off between her and her mother. In addition, Annie avoids to share her mother’s trunk, which is an indication of her dismay of her mother’s abandoning her.

On the other hand, Lucy’s anger is attributed to the fact that her mother discloses her reason for naming her Lucy. Her mother is also bothered by the childish behavior of Annie including the pressure to change her Name. Lucy’s mother says, “…I named you after Satan himself Lucy, short for Lucifer. What botheration from the moment you were conceived…” (Kincaid 34). The statement is annoying to Lucy that she has a doubt whether she actually belongs to the family. Lucy’s anger and hatred of her mother are also attributed to the perceived bias in the family whereby her mother loves her brothers than her. Lucy, unlike Annie, is not initially proud to be associated with her mother. However, Lucy’s anger is attributed to her mother’s betrayal. Unlike Annie who hated her mother, Lucy does not actually hate her mother but she thinks her mother does hate her as manifest in her actions. Lucy exhibits a level of possessiveness of her mother because she feels that her father is the reason for her mother’s change of heart. In fact, Lucy says, “…She should not have married my father, she should not have had children, she should not have thrown away her intelligence…” (Kincaid 43). The depression and frustration of Lucy are manifest in her letters to her mother. She thinks that her mother hates her, and does not even read her mother’s letter. Lucy displays her anger by burning the letter from her mother. She thinks that her mother is faking her love for her because of the past incidences involving the outright scorn on her naming (Oczkowicz 143). Her relationship with her mother is over and she does not consider any letter from her mother useful in restoring their love. Lucy openly confesses, “…I did not say that I loved her, I could not say that…” (Kincaid 69). Unlike Annie, Lucy becomes mature and resolves to run her life independently. Lucy is willing to forego the mothers love unlike Annie, although she savored the good moments with her mother in the past. Both mothers are strict over their daughters because of them tending to give their daughters the freedom and liberty to run their lives. However, Lucy is bothered by her mother’s express displeasure with her pestering behavior. Unlike Annie, Lucy does not need a friend to adapt to her new life as an independent person. This is an indication of maturity on the part of Lucy compared to Annie. The two stories indicate that the common notion that daughters tend to love their fathers is wrong. The two daughters, Lucy and Annie, are fond of their mothers initially against the expectation of many people. According to Gale, Lucy’s naming sparks a standoff between her and her mother while Annie’s case is slightly different because the latter only learns of her mother’s retreat to her father (91). Lucy’s mother expressly reveals her anger and displeasure of her daughter’s pestering tendency while Annie’s mother impliedly expresses her anger. The other difference between the two major players in the novels, “Annie John” and “Lucy” is that the latter does not want her father to know the sour relationship between her and Mrs. John, while Lucy does not mind her father knowing of their stand-off. Both novels manifest anger and depression in almost similar instances. There is use of letters between Lucy and her mother, which is not the case in the communication between Annie and her mother.

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  1. Gale, Cengage L. Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John. Detroit: Gale, Cengage Learning, 2014. Print.
  2. Kincaid, Jamaica. Annie John. New York, NY: Spark Publishing, 2017. Print.
  3. Kincaid, Jamaica. Lucy. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010. Print.
  4. Rohini, R. Maheswari. “Thematic Analysis of Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John and Lucy.” Language in India 17.1 (2017).
  5. Oczkowicz, Edyta. “Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy: Cultural” Translation” as a Case of Creative Exploration of the Past.” Melus 21.3 (1996): 143-157.
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