Annie John

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Dreams play a major role in deciphering subconscious psychological issues, such as fears, desires, and anxieties in Annie John. Dreams "have been interpreted as expressions of infantile desires or considered elaborations of the problems of waking hours". In Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John, Annie’s dreams become a significant element in the way she views herself and the world around her. Annie comments about her dreams: "I had been taught by my mother to take my dreams seriously. My dreams were not unreal representations of something real; my dreams were a part of, and the same as, my real life" (Kincaid 89). Annie realizes that her dreams indicate the issues of her separation anxiety, reveal her conflicting desire to break away from her mother, and reflect her growth and development. The dream that Annie has about her mother on the rock signifies Annie’s first confrontation with the changing relationship with her mother and Annie’s first feelings of separation anxiety. Children’s dreams have been found to be realistic representations of their lives, their dreams being a follow-up of their waking hours. They represent the most pressing concerns and tasks for children at the different stages of growth. In dreams, children give symbolic expression to their developmental struggles. Furthermore, specialists "maintain that about 50% of dreams are linked with events of the earlier day. Annie’s dreams reveal the struggles she goes through in real life. Before this dream, Annie says her relationship with her mother was "a paradise" (Kincaid 25). However, in Annie’s dream about the rock, she foresees the changes in their relationship. Her mother’s separation from Annie, shown by sitting on the rock, symbolizes their emotional separation that would soon follow. In the autobiography she reads to her class, Annie writes, "I couldn’t find her, a huge black space then opened up in front of me and I fell inside it. I couldn’t think of anything except that my mother was no longer near me" (Kincaid 43). Annie dreams of her mother’s separation after experiencing it in real life, "only in [the dream], [her] mother never came back" (Kincaid 44). Early in the stages of her development, the black space represents how separation from her mother ultimately concerns and frightens Annie. Annie feels the effects of separation anxiety. The separation presses on Annie’s subconscious, and as a result, she experiences these images in her dreams. Instead of fearing separation, Annie later has a dream about her relationship with the Red Girl that represents her rebellion and her desire to break away from her mother. As a result of Annie’s dream about the Red Girl, Annie re-evaluates her relationship with her mother. In early adolescence, the body changes, personal independence grows, peer pressure is particularly important, while the relationship with parents is reconsidered and their authority reduced. Annie forms a friendship with the forbidden Red Girl, a relationship that her mother despises, showing that she reconsiders her mother’s authority. The friendship with the Red Girl shows Annie’s rebellion against her mother, a result of her desire to break away. In the dream, Annie saves the Red Girl after her boat breaks, signifying her desire to befriend her. Annie and the Red Girl live on an island by themselves, which exemplifies isolation and Annie’s desire to sever her relationship with her mother. This dream signifies the forbidden friendship she had with her; furthermore, causing the other ships to wreck refers to Annie’s rebellion. They would laugh as the other passengers cried, showing Annie’s indifference for her mother’s hurting as Annie was doing wrong (Kincaid 71). During this time of Annie’s growth, she re-evaluates her relationship with her mother. As opposed to being frightened about this separation, Annie’s actions of rebellion with the Red Girl show now Annie almost anticipates it. Living on the island with the Red Girl and "[laughing] as...
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