Anita and Me

by

Meera Syal

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Anita is a domineering, self-centered thirteen-year-old girl who enjoys manipulating the people around her. Although Anita initially seems to share certain personality traits with Meena, such as a desire to rebel and a love of the outdoors, she ultimately proves much more dishonest and cruel. Anita does not hesitate to humiliate others, including her own sister Tracey, to maintain her superiority over her group of friends. This disregard for other people’s feelings expresses itself through intolerance, racism, and a predilection for violence. Anita, for example, is proud to take part in the beating of an innocent Indian bank manager, whom Sam Lowbridge’s gang attacks for the simple fact of being a foreigner. Anita suffers from an abusive home environment, though it remains unclear if she suffers from the same sexual violence as Tracey. Anita’s future looks bleak, and her obsession with sex suggests that she is likely to follow a similar path as her mother Deirdre, who ultimately abandons her children to run off with another man. In the absence of strong personal ambitions and a supportive environment, it seems likely that Anita will marry and have children at an early age.

Anita Rutter Quotes in Anita and Me

The Anita and Me quotes below are all either spoken by Anita Rutter or refer to Anita Rutter. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oberon Books edition of Anita and Me published in 1996.
Chapter 6 Quotes

When I said that we talked, what I mean is that Anita talked and I listened with the appropriate appreciative noises. But I never had to force my admiration, it flowed from every pore because Anita made me laugh like no one else; she gave voice to all the wicked things I had often thought but kept zipped up inside my good girl’s winter coat.

Related Characters: Meena Kumar (speaker), Anita Rutter
Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:

I had seen how in an instant, those you called friends could suddenly become tormentors, sniffing out a weakness or a difference, turning their own fear of ostracism into a weapon with which they could beat the victim away, afraid that being an outsider, an individual even, was somehow infectious.

Related Characters: Meena Kumar (speaker), Anita Rutter, Tracey Rutter, Kevin and Karl
Page Number: 142
Explanation and Analysis:

I knew I was a freak of some kind, too mouthy, clumsy and scabby to be a real Indian girl, too Indian to be a real Tollington wench, but living in the grey area between all categories felt increasingly like home.

Related Characters: Meena Kumar (speaker), Anita Rutter
Related Symbols: Mama’s Necklace
Page Number: 149-150
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

Sherrie did not even know that her parents were thinking of moving, Sherrie and Anita did not know what I suddenly realised now, that Deirdre had no intention, ever, of buying Anita a horse. Sorrow flooded me until it rose up to my eyes and made them sting. Anita, the same skinny harpy who had just narrowly missed gouging out another girl’s eyes, was now whispering lover’s endearments into a fat pony’s ears. She needed me maybe more than I needed her. There is a fine line between love and pity and I had just stepped over it.

Related Characters: Meena Kumar (speaker), Anita Rutter, Deirdre, Sherrie
Page Number: 242
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Anita and Me LitChart as a printable PDF.
Anita and Me PDF

Anita Rutter Character Timeline in Anita and Me

The timeline below shows where the character Anita Rutter appears in Anita and Me. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Truth vs. Lies Theme Icon
When Mr. Kumar and Meena reach Mr. Ormerod’s shop, Meena recalls speaking to Anita Rutter and her closest friends, Sherrie and Fat Sally, a few days earlier. That day,... (full context)
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Culture and Belonging Theme Icon
The day after Anita told Meena about the poster, Meena saw Roberto at the bus stop and asked him... (full context)
Chapter 3
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While Meena is sitting on the steps in front of her house, Anita Rutter walks by. She shows Meena leaves where butterflies lay their eggs and throws a... (full context)
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Meena follows Anita from a certain distance, knowing that it is an honor merely to be in the... (full context)
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Meena is about to ask Anita if she has seen Mrs. Christmas recently when Anita suddenly runs down the entry, yelling... (full context)
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Meena tries to get Anita to apologize as well, but Anita merely says that she doesn’t care if Mr. Christmas... (full context)
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A few minutes later, when Meena and Anita reach Anita’s house, Meena sees Tracey, Anita’s sister, a pale, weak-looking child, the complete opposite... (full context)
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...been running, because she is sweaty and her mascara has run a little bit. When Anita asks her mother what she was doing, Deirdre says she was shopping, although she has... (full context)
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...the best day of her life, as she has spent time with her new friend Anita. (full context)
Chapter 4
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...voice explain that she went to talk to Mr. Christmas, who had said something to Anita, when she saw Mrs. Christmas in front of the television, the state of her face... (full context)
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Overwhelmed by the sight of a dead body and the idea that, if Anita hadn’t disturbed Mr. Christmas, no one might have known about Mrs. Christmas’s death, Meena feels... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Racism and Violence Theme Icon
The next time Meena runs into Anita Rutter is in late October, by which time her mother’s tummy has already grown visibly.... (full context)
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...conversations she has with other neighbors. Meena knows that this also makes her friendship with Anita more problematic. One day, though, Anita knocks of Meena’s door to see if Meena wants... (full context)
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...does at Christmas, decides that she will treat herself by going to the fair with Anita. Her mother tells her to be back by five o’clock. On the way there, Anita... (full context)
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When Meena and Anita pass by the Big House, Anita crosses herself, saying that a witch lives there. She... (full context)
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...When the group notices three boys nearby who have stopped work to look at them, Anita walks toward them and begins to chat, after saying that the tall one is hers.... (full context)
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By the time Anita invites the other girls over, Dave “The Poet” has put his arm around her. Sherrie... (full context)
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When Dave says something in Anita’s ear, Anita pulls the girls aside and begins to whisper to them, finally admitting that... (full context)
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...if such abuse is a normal feature of spending time with boys. Meena then sees Anita and her mother Deirdre get out of a ride. Choosing to forget what happened earlier,... (full context)
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Anita then yells at Meena that she is going to buy some food and Meena agrees... (full context)
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When Anita returns, Meena decides that she will not leave the girl alone. She lies to Anita... (full context)
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When the girls finally get off their last ride, hours later, after Anita has screamed to Gary to tell the Poet to call her tomorrow, Meena once again... (full context)
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Meena decides to follow Anita, who shows her Hollow Pond, where Jodie Bagshot drowned years ago. Meena knows never to... (full context)
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The sudden sound of Anita running interrupts Meena’s moment of fascinated stupor, and Meena realizes that an angry dog is... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...is in the hospital, Meena lives alone with her father and feels free to see Anita as much as she wants. She discovers that Deirdre too is in the hospital. Anita... (full context)
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...her time taking care of Sunil, and Meena decides to spend most of hers with Anita. The two girls decide to start a gang, like Sam Lowbridge and his friends. They... (full context)
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Anita and Meena call their gang the Wenches Brigade. The two girls plan their future life... (full context)
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Anita always ends up talking about sex. One day, she leads the group to spy on... (full context)
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Then, Anita forces Tracey to participate. She tells her to take off her pants. Shaking, Tracey does... (full context)
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Meena decides that she needs to act quickly if she does not want Anita to start picking on her. She takes off one leg of her pants and begins... (full context)
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...about any stranger who appeared and dividing up into groups criticizing other people, such as Anita’s mother Deirdre. This led Meena to conclude that the village is not as tranquil and... (full context)
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After the peeing competition, Anita sits down with Meena and tells her about sex, finishing her talk by noting that,... (full context)
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...has her own friends, her father asks her why she spends so much time with Anita Rutter instead of Auntie Shaila’s daughters Pinky and Baby, whom Meena used to enjoy. Meena... (full context)
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...to accept this feeling of being stuck in between two identities. She also concludes that Anita recognizes what the two of them have in common: a rebellious soul behind a seemingly... (full context)
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...enjoy Pinky and Baby’s presence, she now finds them too tame and childish. Therefore, when Anita comes to the door, Meena decides to follow her, taking her two cousins along. When... (full context)
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Anita then challenges Meena to steal as well. However, Meena is too scared to behave quickly... (full context)
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...by saying that she could easily tell the police they were accomplices in this crime. Anita is so impressed with Meena’s attitude that she offers for her to co-lead their gang,... (full context)
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...morning, he does not look at his daughter and leaves the room as soon as Anita comes to call Meena at the back gate. (full context)
Chapter 7
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...Mr. Ormerod’s words and violent, discriminatory deeds, as well as what she has witnessed in Anita’s gang, Meena begins to feel suspicious about the difference between strangers and friends. Fete, she... (full context)
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...to know that he does not want to put his livelihood at risk. Meena sees Anita talking animatedly with a fortune teller who looks mysterious. Meena agrees to give a demanding... (full context)
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Anita then gives the fortune teller her hand, looking serious. However, after taking it in hers,... (full context)
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Meena spends the rest of the afternoon following Anita from a distance, since she knows not to interrupt Anita’s fits of anger. She finds... (full context)
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...frozen in place. Though everyone suddenly becomes uncomfortable and looks at Meena and her father, Anita, by Meena’s side, gives her friend no comfort. Meena is then horrified to hear a... (full context)
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...Meena sees people offer support to her father. As she begins to walk toward him, Anita holds her back, telling her how alluring Sam looked. Shocked, Meena tells Anita that she... (full context)
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The next day, Meena sees Anita and Fat Sally take a detour by her house to show her that they are... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...events. She sees a man drop Deirdre off near the Big House, and notices that Anita is waiting for her mother at the corner. Meena then realizes she has not spoken... (full context)
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...about to leave, but Deirdre then asks her if she has stopped Meena from seeing Anita. Both Meena and her mother understand that Deirdre probably feels insecure because mama, despite being... (full context)
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...that Nanima made. During the night, she asks her father if she can play with Anita the next day. She remembers her friend crying outside her house and cannot get this... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...day, Meena leaves Nanima alone with mama, who is also on holiday. She goes to Anita’s house, where Tracey answers the door, saying that Anita is at Sherrie’s farm. Noticing how... (full context)
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Although Meena expects Anita to get angry at her, Anita merely complains about Tracey being there. When Fat Sally... (full context)
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...the girls to tie the dog up so that it doesn’t scare the horses, and Anita insists on using Fat Sally’s belt to tie him up. The girls then discover that... (full context)
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The discussion turns violent when Anita mentions Sally’s fancy school, arguing that the nuns at her school are too ugly to... (full context)
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...who wants to find her dog. After the fight, with bald patches on her head, Anita calmly stands up to ride Sherrie’s horse Trixie. When she does so, Meena is awed... (full context)
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After Sherrie comments that it will be wonderful for Anita to have a horse so that they can ride together, Meena realizes that neither girl... (full context)
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...that the dog is going to die soon but that he could never kill it. Anita then appears, with a mocking look on her face, and prepares to throw a rock... (full context)
Chapter 10
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A few days before the summer vacation, Meena notices Anita sitting by herself in the park. Anita goes to the comprehensive school, whose students Meena... (full context)
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...that her last interaction with Deirdre represented Deirdre’s way of asking Meena to look after Anita after she was gone. Meena thus puts her arm around Anita but she reacts violently,... (full context)
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...her parents if she is a virgin and they react with shock and anger, cursing Anita. Papa then stands up, grabs Meena by the arm and says that she has become... (full context)
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...to panic, although she has always secretly dreamed of leaving Tollington. Meena then announces that Anita’s mother Deirdre has left, and both parents immediately change tones, showing pity for Anita. Mama... (full context)
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When Anita arrives, Meena is shocked by the girl’s bad manners, even though she already knows that... (full context)
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When Anita sees Meena’s parents eat their chapattis and curry with their fingers, she is shocked and... (full context)
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Throughout the evening, Meena notices that Nanima is expressing a strong dislike toward Anita. She blocks the television screen from her and behaves rudely toward her, complaining loudly about... (full context)
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...hours of trying on Meena’s Indian clothes, the girls walk back down. When mama hugs Anita to say goodbye, Anita is so surprised by this gesture that she drops ten rolled-up... (full context)
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When Meena asks her mother if Anita can come over again, mama says that they could do that if Anita asks Meena... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...carefree life. Meena goes to Sherrie’s farm almost every day, where she spends time with Anita. However, although Meena learns to take care of the horse, she does not want to... (full context)
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...she lost it, says that she knows nothing about it. Mama begins to wonder if Anita might have taken it, but concludes that she is perhaps being unfair and simply accepts... (full context)
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...begin to insult the diggers and drive around them with their mopeds. After joining Meena, Anita wants to go see what is happening. The two of them run closer to the... (full context)
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Meena is furious to see Anita walking toward Sam, but Anita does not seem to care. However, Sam notices Meena and... (full context)
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Meena loses sight of Anita and walks home, feeling saddened and degraded by Sam’s words. Back in her room, Meena... (full context)
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One day at Sherrie’s farm, Anita and Sherrie begin sharing information about their respective bras. Meena does not want to be... (full context)
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Sherrie then asks Anita if she is seeing someone, but Anita refuses to say anything, although she smiles knowingly.... (full context)
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Racism and Violence Theme Icon
After leaving, Meena still hears the two girls talking. Anita excitedly relates taking part in a “Paki bashing,” watching as the boys attacked a “Paki”... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Meena remains haunted by the image of Anita watching her get into the ambulance. She imagines the girl’s joy at taking part in... (full context)
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...that Mr. Pembridge has sold some land in front of the Kumars’ house, and that Anita’s house looks dilapidated. In general, Meena finds the town unappealing. She also learns that Sandy... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...changed. She notices more strangers spending time in the park, as well as Sam and Anita’s gang smoking and drinking beer. Meena ignores them but watches them discreetly, which she notices... (full context)
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...greets her and expects questions about how she has been, but Tracey merely announces that Anita is going out with Sam. She then angrily concludes that Anita is bound to end... (full context)
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...Meena is harassed by people calling her, which she believes must be a mix of Anita’s and Sam’s voices. Later, they throw stones at her window and Meena finds that she... (full context)
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...Tracey simply says that he is killing her. Meena believes that Roberto must be beating Anita and concludes that this would explain a lot about Anita’s behavior. (full context)
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...overlooking the pond. In a clearing, Meena sees Sam lying and moving on top of Anita, while Anita, on her back, remains motionless. Tracey is sobbing and the two of them... (full context)
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In the meantime, Meena hides behind a tree and Sam easily picks Tracey up. Anita begins to insult her sister and Sam laughs at Anita, asking if she was immobile... (full context)
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...seems surprised at her comment. He explains that he wrote nice notes to Meena, whereas Anita wrote mean ones because she is jealous of Sam and Meena’s relationship. (full context)
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...realizes that Sam has a frustrated, confused attitude, which Meena recognizes from spending time with Anita, who always makes people feel weak. Meena realizes that Sam is a puppet who would... (full context)
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...an Indian girl on the street, he will remember this moment and feel powerless. However, Anita then steps forward and throws a rock at Sam’s face. Sam prepares to attack her... (full context)
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...window. In emotional shock, Meena suffers from strong shaking. She feels furious, angry at Tracey, Anita, and Sam for making her life so unfairly complicated. She is also angry at herself... (full context)
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The next morning, Meena receives a letter from Anita asking her to meet with her about last night without talking to Sam. Meena tears... (full context)
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...parents, Meena feels nervous. Meena’s father tells her that Tracey is accusing either Sam or Anita of pushing her into the pond, and he asks Meena to tell the entire truth... (full context)
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...she felt for Nanima and Robert was much more intense than any emotion Sam or Anita made her feel, she gives up on her idea of seeking revenge. She tells the... (full context)
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...it at her grammar school. Meena uses it that night to write a note to Anita, saying that she is moving in the next few days and will attend the grammar... (full context)