I wasn’t her

By: Lissom Huang

I will recreate the scene and passage where Anna talks about Francine, from page 58 to 63. I will create a scene where it properly illustrates their relationship. Not only shall I write in Anna’s point of view, but I will also depict the emotions that were felt by Francine. While Anna seems to almost be idolizing Francine, or being envious of Francine’s “freedom”, Francine hates Anna for who she is. Their social standing has it’s way through their relationship; it forcefully separates the two of them.

The scene I wrote, is one in which Anna dreams of being born with darker skin, because it contrasts a happy Anna in this false scene with the sad Anna in the novel. It is a refreshing way to see a different character’s point of view.

I thought about creating this scene, because after finishing the book, I got curious of how truly happy Anna was back in the Caribbeans. She seemed so happy, and I thought I wanted to know more about her childhood influences too. The setting of the scene took place back in the West Indies, at her home. If I were to place this scene somewhere, I would have created a new chapter, between chapter 6 and 7,  just to concentrate on these elements, because truly getting to know Anna’s past is important as well. The recreated scene depicts about social standings and identity, because Anna does not know how to represent herself as who she truly wants to be.

While I wrote, I wanted to make the language more simple, using simple words. I tried to leave out standard essay words. Though, I used some elements from the novel, for example, the word “nice” was always really vague in the novel, but I used it in my writing. I felt that overall, the novel was very negative, thus instead of writing regular sentences, I used negative sentences. At one part, I had quoted the book, because the emotions expressed there were very strong. I wanted to explain in details what some sentences could have wanted to express. Also, whenever it was Anna’s point of view, I made it blue, because she always felt very cold in the novel, and I made it red for Francine, because usually red is associated as the opposite of blue. I changed the font color whenever it would have feel like a strong emotion.

I felt like it was hard to actually translate my thematic, which is this love-hate relationship between Anna and Francine, because it was never clearly stated there. This writing is based on what I thought have happened. It is not a certain thematic that is represented. Though, I liked what I wrote, I felt like I had been creative to have both of them dream of becoming each other, yet at the same time the wake up realizing it was merely a dream. There, I made the font color purple, because red and blue makes purple.

I don’t actually think I captured the spirit of the novel, because this is a semi-biographical novel. I felt like I didn’t know enough about the two women I depicted. There were a lot of mixed emotions expressed by the two, I am merely using my imagination.  

At last, I want to talk about my featured image, because I wanted to show something that could contrast the two women, and I found this image, and I read the story behind the image, which is that these two babies are actually twins, but of different color because of their parents. I think it is interesting, because I am indeed contrasting the two of them, as if they were twins.




Francine

 The sun was barely up, but I was woken up by the loud chickens. My routine was always the same. I first would have got up, wear the same ripped clothes that stank, and went outside. I would have walked far away to get some water. I would wash my face first with the water, but then I would have had to fill it up and walk all the way back to the house with a bucket full of water. I was glad there were other kids with me, but we never really talked because the masters forbid that. I was the one appointed to cook them breakfast, or rather, I was just helping out in the kitchen and serving their meals. The masters treated us well, they were not abusive, but there was this one annoying master, she would always follow me around. Because of that, I always got punished. Everyone kept telling me to keep my distance from her. I did, but she kept coming back to me. The worst, I could not even touch her. I hated her so much, she made my life so miserable. I hated the fact she was white, but also had a darker skin. She had some of our blood in her, but she was able to live such a great life. I hated her, she wore pretty dresses and always had this innocent smile going on, as if she did not know how much I suffered everyday. I hated her because the master, the father, was always spoiling her. I hated her, because of her I had to go through the same routine everyday. Once I had finished serving the breakfast, I would be sent to clean and feed the animals the masters owned. I hated her so much.

Then that day happened, we had a new female master. She was the worst I have ever seen. She kept insulting us. She obligated us to call her “Madame”. She was the worst, I could not even compare this little girl to this fat and ugly lady. She made me sick all the time. I still hated Anna though, because whenever Madame saw us together she would punish me.



Anna
 I opened my eyes, and I saw the beautiful sun rising. I thought that it would be another great day. I first dressed myself up, by choosing my favorite dress. I looked very cute in it, Father kept complimenting me in this dress. I was glad to please him. I was then served breakfast by Francine. She was really smart in my opinion. She had beautiful dark hair, although it felt like we could see her bones, I loved that. I wished I were black. During the daytime, I loved to follow Francine around. She always tried to avoid me and escape, but I always found her back. It felt like we were playing hide and seek! It was fun. I would watch her feed the chickens, and get herself dirty, but she seemed at ease.

I would never forget the day she stepped in our house. If humans had the same instincts as animals, I would say that I felt alert once I saw her. I thought she were a hunter and she were about to eat her preys, which were my Father and I. Never had I liked to follow what she asked me to do. The ways she wanted me to behave in, they were not what how I ever hoped to become. I liked to do the opposite of what she asked me. Though, following Francine around was something I did on my own accord.

I felt happy whenever I was around her. She was blacker than all the other girls, I think that made her look nice. I wish I was as dark as her. I loved when she ate mangoes. She would devour mangoes as if she had not ate for days. [ Her teeth would bite into the mango and her lips fasten on either side of it, and while she sucked you saw that she was perfectly happy. When she had finished she always smacked her lips twice, very loud , louder than you could believe possible. It was a ritual.]I would watch and learn then eat mangoes, but never had I felt the kind of happiness she had. I always looked for her when I had mangoes, because when she was happy, I was happy.



Francine
 I actually have not ate actual meals for days. The only times I felt alright with Anna, was when she would eat mangoes, because she would then force me to eat, while I was more than willing to eat. I was the best cook they had. They knew it, but it was always so unfair because they had to eat the food I prepared. Every day I would tell myself not to even dream about being Anna, but sometimes I couldn’t help myself, but wonder, how much better would it be if I could be in her position enjoying all the luxury she had. I was so black that Madame disliked me very much. She wanted me gone all the time, thankfully, no one could cook better than me.

It was because I didn’t want Anna to have the better of me, that was why, I liked to walk around without shoes, it was actually easier to move around, and my feet were already used to it. I worked extra hard to try to be better than Anna. Even when it was hard and tiring, I would lift my head up high and carry anything, anywhere. When I knew she was around, I would always laugh or sing. Though, sometimes I couldn’t help but show how sad I was, I would sing quick tunes, but they sounded horrible.

I never knew how old I was, that kind of bothered me. I never really knew who my parents were. I just kind of ended up working for their family. It was so unfair that Anna had her own family. There was one time though, that I felt I had the better over her. That was the first time she bled. I knew about it, because I had it for a while. I was going to leave her alone, but I knew Madame wouldn’t be happy, so I went off and told Madame about Anna’s first bleeding.

I was usually in the kitchen, if not, rather than being upstairs in my bedroom, I liked to be by the doorstep, because that was where I could breathe and feel freedom, despite the charcoal smoke.



Anna

 Hester told me that when I was sick, I talked a lot about Francine. I didn’t know what I said, but I remember having a dream. It felt so real. I was born black, not white. It was black like charcoal. I had a small and plump body. Father and Mother both loved me. We still owned the estate, but we didn’t have black people working for us. We were just a big community helping out each other. I was happy. Every day it was the same routine, but every day felt so different. There were colors, the trees made the scenery look great. I always liked to be moving around, I would carry things on my head, walking around barefoot and I would be singing. The melody even made the birds sing with me. In my dream, I was finally able to eat mangoes like Francine. I ate mangoes everyday.
 I was happy.



Francine

 While Anna was sick in bed all the time, I was made to run around even more, because Anna’s Father would never leave her side. It made Hester mad. What was worst, is that Anna kept calling my name then mumbling things to herself. There was one of these nights where I had a dream. I never had dreams because I was too busy to dream. I was born white. I was the Morgan’s daughter, I was still myself though, I was still Francine. I didn’t follow any black girl. I was educated. I ate meals prepared by black girls. I had a better bedroom. I had a Father that cared for me. There was no Madame punishing me. I was happy. It was finally fair. I was where I belonged.


Anna & Francine

 But I woke up realizing, I wasn’t her.


Francine
 I don’t know if I was happy to leave them. Madame finally got me out because she got annoyed of me and Anna wasn’t there to stop her. Sometimes, I felt like Anna looked at me differently from the other white people. Her eyes always shined when she looked at me. I think I will miss Anna.

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One thought on “I wasn’t her

  1. Super interesting! I really like your idea. This scene adds some interesting background to the present action. I like how you play with the two different perspectives here. It adds an interesting dynamic to your reading of the novel. Nice work!

    Like

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