Study Guide

Annie John Visions of Antigua

By Jamaica Kincaid

Visions of Antigua

If Annie John was set in the 1970s, we just know Annie'd be singing along to the Sex Pistol's "God Save The Queen."

But critics place the events of the novel somewhere in the 1950s, long before Antigua and Barbuda gained full independence in 1981. While those of us living in more frigid temperatures might fantasize about yearlong sunshine and sea breeze, in an interview Kincaid claims living on an island isn't all its cracked up to be: "I can say to most readers, try living on a Caribbean paradise and see if they find it happy and carefree […] After a while it becomes a prison."

Certainly, this feeling of imprisonment is true for Annie. She wants out. And, island hopping like her mother did from Dominica to Antigua doesn't suffice. She goes all the way to England to escape her feelings of claustrophobia.

Questions About Visions of Antigua

  1. What is it like for Annie growing up on the island of Antigua?
  2. Annie's narration doesn't dwell on Antigua. What effect does this create?
  3. Annie leaves Antigua for England at the end of the novel. Why?
  4. How is the British Caribbean colonial world described?

Chew on This

Instead of paradise, Antigua in Annie John is portrayed as a dystopia.

Annie John shows how any childhood home, no matter how lovely, becomes a dystopia during adolescence.

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