What is Annie's journey in the story Annie John?

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Annie John is a coming-of-age novel by Jamaica Kincaid that takes place on the Caribbean island of Antigua and follows the life journey of a young girl named Annie from pre-adolescence through young adulthood. The author uses water-related images and symbols to foreshadow the changing courses of Annie's life. Annie is ten years old when the story begins, but we are told that as an infant, she had a baby bottle shaped like a boat.

Annie's journey is deeply affected by the tides of emotional change and growth. As the story opens, she is deeply attached to her mother, whom she resembles exactly. It comes as a shock to her when she finds out that when children grow up, they live in houses away from their parents. Annie's curiosity about life's journey deepens as she becomes obsessed with trying to understand what happens to people when they die. When she sees her mother bathe the corpse of a grieving neighbor's child, Annie develops a fear of her mother's touch that lasts for months.

With the arrival of puberty, Annie's mother becomes distant and withdraws emotionally, which is confusing and painful for the girl. Annie's mother wants her to develop into a separate individual and not a copy of herself. Annie is sent to a new school, where she becomes very attached to classmates Gwen and the Red Girl, whom she eventually leaves behind emotionally as she is passed to a higher class.

Annie moves through the trials and discoveries of adolescence but eventually comes to an emotional place of darkness when she falls ill with an inexplicable fatigue and depression that keeps her bedridden for three months. Her grandmother, an expert in folk medicine, comes to care for her and brings her journey full circle with the return of a caring maternal figure.

When the rainy season ends, Annie's mysterious illness disappears, and she arises with renewed sense of energy, clarity, and purpose to take on the part of her journey foreshadowed by the boat-shaped baby bottle. She boards a ship to England, where she plans to begin a new chapter of her life as a student in nursing school.

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