Anita and Me

by

Meera Syal

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Deirdre Character Analysis

Recognizable by her high heels and mini-skirts, Anita and Tracey’s mother is an unstable presence in her daughters’ lives. Her obsession with sex makes her behave in unscrupulous ways, as she has sex with Dave “The Poet,” whom Anita was going out with. Her lack of interest in taking care of her children also leads her to abandon her family to go live with her lover, a butcher. Deirdre also proves racist and vulgar, as she calls their family poodle “Nigger,” which shocks Meena’s family. However, Deirdre attempts to show some concern for Anita’s life when she asks Meena’s mother why Anita and Meena no longer spend time together—an episode that, in retrospect, Meena interprets as Deirdre’s plea for Meena to take care of Anita once she is gone.

Deirdre Quotes in Anita and Me

The Anita and Me quotes below are all either spoken by Deirdre or refer to Deirdre. 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 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

Deirdre Character Timeline in Anita and Me

The timeline below shows where the character Deirdre appears in Anita and Me. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Culture and Belonging Theme Icon
...well, but Anita merely says that she doesn’t care if Mr. Christmas tells her mother, Deirdre, about this. Meena considers such behavior treason and is shocked to then hear Anita call... (full context)
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
...a pale, weak-looking child, the complete opposite of her sister. Tracey says that their mother Deirdre is not home yet. Hairy Neddy, their neighbor—a man who used to be covered in... (full context)
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Truth vs. Lies Theme Icon
Deirdre soon arrives, wearing high heels and a very tight sweater. Meena notices that it looks... (full context)
Chapter 4
Culture and Belonging Theme Icon
...Mama enters Meena’s room, asking her what she is doing. Both of them hear then Deirdre’s loud voice explain that she went to talk to Mr. Christmas, who had said something... (full context)
Chapter 5
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Racism and Violence Theme Icon
...rivalry between friends. Meena has also seen Tracey with their new dog, whom she discovers Deirdre has called “Nigger.” When Meena first told her parents about this, they both laughed wholeheartedly,... (full context)
Friendship Theme Icon
Racism and Violence Theme Icon
From that moment on, Meena's mother decides to treat Deirdre coldly, showing her only a polite façade, at odds with the warm conversations she has... (full context)
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...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, Meena waves at her... (full context)
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
...agrees to wait for her. Once Anita is gone, Meena is shocked to see that Deirdre, who has taken off her heels, is running with the Poet toward the caravans. Meena... (full context)
Friendship Theme Icon
Truth vs. Lies Theme Icon
...Meena decides that she will not leave the girl alone. She lies to Anita that Deirdre has walked toward their home and suggests they go on a ride. Meena notices that... (full context)
Chapter 6
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...father and feels free to see Anita as much as she wants. She discovers that Deirdre too is in the hospital. Anita says that her mother claims her father Roberto beat... (full context)
Culture and Belonging Theme Icon
Racism and Violence Theme Icon
...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 tight-knit as... (full context)
Chapter 8
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Culture and Belonging Theme Icon
During the party outside, Meena witness two strange events. She sees a man drop Deirdre off near the Big House, and notices that Anita is waiting for her mother at... (full context)
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Culture and Belonging Theme Icon
Racism and Violence Theme Icon
...come home, they cannot find Nanima. Walking out to search for her, they run into Deirdre and ask her if she has seen her, but Mrs. Worrall then yells to them... (full context)
Chapter 9
Friendship Theme Icon
Culture and Belonging Theme Icon
...Sally’s cheeks. Sally screams that everyone in the village says that Anita and her mother Deirdre are “slags,” and Meena is shocked to notice Anita’s acceptance of this violence, as though... (full context)
Chapter 10
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...on. Anita says that she has received her third year uniform and then adds that Deirdre has left them to live with a butcher. Meena does not know what to say,... (full context)
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Meena concludes that her last interaction with Deirdre represented Deirdre’s way of asking Meena to look after Anita after she was gone. Meena... (full context)
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Culture and Belonging Theme Icon
...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 then suggests... (full context)
Chapter 13
Friendship Theme Icon
...out with Sam. She then angrily concludes that Anita is bound to end up like Deirdre, and asks Meena to stop her. However, with a pang of sadness, Meena replies that... (full context)