Anita and Me


Meera Syal

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Mama’s Necklace Symbol Icon

After Meena secretly borrows her mother’s diamond necklace and then loses it, the necklace becomes a symbol of Meena’s potential severance from her parents, fueled by her lies and her relationship with Anita. Meena loses the necklace while following Anita into the Big House, an episode that serves as a turning point in Meena’s life. By following Anita, Meena proves her loyalty to the older girl, suggesting that Meena is now willing to sacrifice her own safety and well-being to remain by Anita’s side. This introduces a central danger in the story: the possibility for Anita’s authority to become more powerful than Meena’s parents’ discipline and advice. Meena’s inability to tell her mother what has happened underlines her guilt, but also suggests that she would rather retain her independence than face her mother’s anger. At the end of the novel, though, the owner of the Big House gives mama her necklace back, and papa tells mama to accept it without asking any questions. This happy ending proves that, despite Meena’s temporary descent into rebellion and disobedience, by the end of the novel everything is back to normal, and she has returned under her parents’ wings. Meena’s parents’ willingness to forget about some of their daughter’s potential misdeeds reveals that Meena should now focus on her future: a life of honesty and openness, far from the negative influence of people such as Anita.

Mama’s Necklace Quotes in Anita and Me

The Anita and Me quotes below all refer to the symbol of Mama’s Necklace. 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

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:
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Anita and Me PDF

Mama’s Necklace Symbol Timeline in Anita and Me

The timeline below shows where the symbol Mama’s Necklace appears in Anita and Me. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Truth vs. Lies Theme Icon
...outfit and puts on some of her mother’s make-up. She also grabs her mother’s gold necklace, with a diamond in the center, but hides it underneath her vest, even though she... (full context)
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...that Meena wanted to hang out with her. Meena, who is still wearing her mother’s necklace, holds onto it as though it might bring her good luck. (full context)
Family Discipline and Guidance Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Culture and Belonging Theme Icon
...the adults will say to her. She also realizes that she has lost her mother’s necklace. However, when Anita asks her what the statue was, Meena says it was nothing. (full context)