Study Guide

Annie John Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

By Jamaica Kincaid

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Err... Voyage and (No) Return

Anticipation Stage

Annie is young, curious about the world and madly in love with her mother. When we first meet Annie, she's a ten-year-old precocious girl with a scientific curiosity. She wants to know how life and especially death work in the world. As Annie's body starts to change and develop, she finds herself rejected by (and rejecting of) the comfortable life of attention and affection from her mother.

Initial fascination or Dream Stage

In Annie's new world order, in which she receives the cold shoulder from her mother and her body is betraying her, she excels at school and meets a gaggle of new friends. This includes the illustrious Gwen (her new bestie and replacement for her mother) and the foul-smelling yet beguiling Red Girl who encourages her to do forbidden activities like playing marbles.

Frustration Stage

Eventually, even Annie's new friends disappoint her. As Annie grows older and her academic performance pushes her to a higher class, she not only feels a mild hatred toward her mother, but also begins to tire of her new friends. Gwen doesn't excite her anymore and is downright annoying at times with her schoolgirl giggle. She even fantasizes about killing her mother.

Nightmare Stage

During a three-month downpour, Annie suffers from a terrible illness. As helpless as a baby, she cannot leave her bedroom and spends most of time resting in bed or seeing crazy visions. Her parents cater and care for Annie during this time. Neither Dr. Stephen's medicine nor Ma Jolie's obeah seem to help and Annie seems doomed.

Thrilling Escape

Ma Chess's obeah knowledge, superior to that of Ma Jolie, saves the day and her granddaughter's life. She slips out just as mysteriously as she appears. When Annie's health returns, the rain stops. She reevaluates her life and decides to leave her island home and move to England to study nursing and start a new life.

So Annie splits, but is it for good? Will our heroine ever return to her birthplace? Kincaid leaves her readers guessing on this point as the book ends with her in her cabin onboard the ship.

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