Study Guide

Annie John Time

By Jamaica Kincaid

Time

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future in Annie John. Shucks, it's a coming-of-age novel: you don't get much more time-sensitive than that. Young Annie marks time through her birthdays, seasonal change and based on the academic school year.

But Kincaid herself treats time in a non-linear manner. We can't draw arrows between each chapter and expect a sequential time progression. Events recur and repeat. There are flashbacks and foreshadowing. There is minute attention to detail of particular life milestones, but the narrative time jumps from Annie at age ten to Annie at age twelve to Annie at age fifteen and finally Annie at seventeen.

Questions About Time

  1. How does time play out in Annie John?
  2. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out when things are happening in Annie John. What effect does this create?
  3. What's the significance of repetition within Annie John?

Chew on This

Time is purposefully obscure in Annie John, drawing attention toward events and away from timelines.

Most critics agree that Annie John takes place in the 1950's. However, it is a story that could have happened at any time.

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