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Section 1: Essay
Annie’s Story is a short story by Elisabeth Taylor that first appeared in her book
“Present Fears” in 1997. The narrator of the story is an only child named Annie, who
lives with her parents in the country. Even if this is not mentioned by Annie, there is
several indications that this is the case: “ …vegetable garden… in the field with the
horses ” 1 and “ We picked honeysuckle and red campion along the lane and, at the
five-bar gate, we stopped to talk to Magda and her foal. ” 2 It is a peaceful, safe and
quiet environment in which they live: “ ”No one to disturb out here!” Mother said ” 3 .
These descriptions of the setting are worth noticing, because later in the story they
change, (which I will comment on later).
In contrast to the idyllic environment we see Annie’s family situation. Her mother and
father are very different: the father, Roger, is a scholar, a “researcher”, and Annie
says that “ …if there’s an opposite to being a researcher, Mother is that.” 4 This
difference makes the atmosphere in the house a little tense. The parents do not
really talk to each other; they just snap at one another.
Roger always wants everything to be in perfect order: he wants his dinner to be
served at the same time every day, even if he does not know what time it is. Too, he
insists on having napkins and places laid at the kitchen table: everything must be in
order on the outside, when it is not on the inside.
Roger is the reason why the family does not experience any new and exciting things:
“ Father doesn’t like change. ” 5 the mother says. They cannot go on holiday because
of the father’s work, which seems to be the most important thing in his life. As the
mother says, he hardly knows his own daughter. This stands in clear contrast to the
mother’s feelings about change: she desperately wants something to happen;
something to change. She is very unhappy with her life as it is: “ …Mother’s face
looked sort of tight, and her eyes empty. She’d scraped her hair back and fastened it
with a rubber band. ” 6 The fact that she loosens her hair from the rubber band when
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