Annihilation

by

Jeff VanderMeer

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The Anthropologist Character Analysis

The anthropologist is one of the members of the twelfth expedition into Area X. The anthropologist was formerly an architect, and the biologist reveals that she doesn’t think the anthropologist has the same kind of mental toughness as the other members of the expedition. The evening after first exploring the Tower, the psychologist hypnotizes the anthropologist to get her to return to the tower to take a sample of the Crawler, but the creature ends up killing her. Later, the surveyor believes that she sees the anthropologist and tries to kill her again.

The Anthropologist Quotes in Annihilation

The Annihilation quotes below are all either spoken by The Anthropologist or refer to The Anthropologist. 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:
The Sublime vs. The Mundane Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Farrar Straus & Giroux edition of Annihilation published in 2014.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Far worse, though, was a low, powerful moaning at dusk. The wind off the sea and the odd interior stillness dulled our ability to gauge direction, so that the sound seemed to infiltrate the black water that soaked the cypress trees. This water was so dark we could see our faces in it, and it never stirred, set like glass, reflecting the beards of gray moss that smothered the cypress trees. If you looked out through these areas, toward the ocean, all you saw was the black water, the gray of the cypress trunks, and the constant, motionless rain of moss flowing down. All you heard was the low moaning. The effect of this cannot be understood without being there. The beauty of it cannot be understood, either, and when you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you. Desolation tries to colonize you.

Page Number: 5-6
Explanation and Analysis:

Most important, however, I now could guess at one way in which the spores had affected me: They had made me immune to the psychologist’s hypnotic suggestions. They had made me into a kind of conspirator against her. Even if her purposes were benign, I felt a wave of anxiety whenever I thought of confessing that I was resistant to hypnosis—especially since it meant any underlying conditioning hidden in our training also was affecting me less and less.

I now hid not one but two secrets, and that meant I was steadily, irrevocably, becoming estranged from the expedition and its purpose.

Related Symbols: The Tower/The Tunnel
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

How what we had seen below could coexist with the mundane was baffling. It was as if we had come up too fast from a deep-sea dive but it was the memories of the creatures we had seen that had given us the bends.

Related Symbols: The Tower/The Tunnel
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Anthropologist Character Timeline in Annihilation

The timeline below shows where the character The Anthropologist appears in Annihilation. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The Sublime vs. The Mundane Theme Icon
Self-Reliance, Mistrust, Secrecy, and Isolation Theme Icon
The biologist, the anthropologist, the surveyor, and the psychologist all start out for Area X; they are the first... (full context)
Self-Reliance, Mistrust, Secrecy, and Isolation Theme Icon
...shocked to see the tower, as it is not on any of their maps. The anthropologist isn’t quite sure how to identify the tower’s origins, as the materials are hard to... (full context)
Self-Reliance, Mistrust, Secrecy, and Isolation Theme Icon
...excited, even though she feels a growing sense of unease. The surveyor shrugs, and the anthropologist nods. The biologist doesn’t use the others’ names because they were told that their personal... (full context)
Objectivity vs. Subjectivity Theme Icon
...to explore, according to their skill sets. The surveyor has medical and firearm experience, the anthropologist was once an architect, and the biologist knows very little about the psychologist. (full context)
The Sublime vs. The Mundane Theme Icon
...tower is the group’s first opportunity to test the limits of disagreement and compromise. The anthropologist wants to explore farther and map out what’s around them before returning to the tower.... (full context)
Objectivity vs. Subjectivity Theme Icon
...She calls out that everything is clear to the first level, and the biologist and anthropologist follow the surveyor as the psychologist stands watch at the top. Underground, the stairwell is... (full context)
Objectivity vs. Subjectivity Theme Icon
The psychologist flatly remarks that what she saw was very interesting. This offends the anthropologist, who becomes hysterical, exclaiming that she has never seen anything like the words before. The... (full context)
Nature, Power, and Persistence Theme Icon
Objectivity vs. Subjectivity Theme Icon
...short-lived. The biologist gets along with the surveyor, though she finds herself thinking that the anthropologist seems to lack mental toughness. As night falls, the moaning starts once more—but the beast... (full context)
Self-Reliance, Mistrust, Secrecy, and Isolation Theme Icon
Objectivity vs. Subjectivity Theme Icon
...investigate it further. Then the psychologist says, “Consolidation of authority,” and immediately the surveyor and anthropologist go slack, with their eyes unfocused. The biologist tries to mimic what they do, hoping... (full context)
Chapter 2
Self-Reliance, Mistrust, Secrecy, and Isolation Theme Icon
In the morning, the group discovers that the anthropologist is gone. The psychologist, who seems shaken, explains that what the anthropologist saw in the... (full context)
Self-Reliance, Mistrust, Secrecy, and Isolation Theme Icon
...before completing this investigation, so she agrees that they should continue the mission without the anthropologist. The surveyor grudgingly agrees. (full context)
The Sublime vs. The Mundane Theme Icon
Nature, Power, and Persistence Theme Icon
The biologist goes first, and she realizes that the body is the anthropologist. Her face is burned, her jaw is broken, and her legs appear half-melted. Her black... (full context)
Self-Reliance, Mistrust, Secrecy, and Isolation Theme Icon
...whatever left the slime had turned in a frenzy in a clockwise swirl, but the anthropologist’s boot prints were on top of the swirl. The biologist begins to form an image... (full context)
Self-Reliance, Mistrust, Secrecy, and Isolation Theme Icon
...story. The biologist, meanwhile, is still grappling with the horror that the psychologist coerced the anthropologist into her own death. (full context)
Nature, Power, and Persistence Theme Icon
Objectivity vs. Subjectivity Theme Icon
...finds most of her samples confusing—organisms that she doesn’t fully understand. The sample that the anthropologist collected, however, is unique. It is brain tissue that looks human, with some irregularities. The... (full context)
Chapter 4
Self-Reliance, Mistrust, Secrecy, and Isolation Theme Icon
The biologist then asks what happened with the anthropologist. The psychologist explains she miscalculated—the anthropologist got too close, and the creature reacted, killing the... (full context)
Nature, Power, and Persistence Theme Icon
...through her body, and she is numb and delirious. In a vision, she sees the anthropologist, psychologist, and surveyor peering down at her as though through water. In a second vision,... (full context)
Objectivity vs. Subjectivity Theme Icon
...is completely empty. She had left one final statement on a piece of paper: “the anthropologist tried to come back, but I took care of her.” The biologist thinks that the... (full context)
Chapter 5
Nature, Power, and Persistence Theme Icon
Objectivity vs. Subjectivity Theme Icon
...she is relieved she finally has some proof, along with the brain tissue that the anthropologist took from the Crawler. After this, the biologist finally picks up her husband’s journal as... (full context)
Nature, Power, and Persistence Theme Icon
...that the glow on the wall has intensified. She comes to the place where the anthropologist lay dead—the body is now covered by the tiny hand-shaped parasites that live among the... (full context)
Nature, Power, and Persistence Theme Icon
Objectivity vs. Subjectivity Theme Icon
Below the anthropologist, the Tower’s heartbeat becomes louder. The words on the wall become fresher, and there is... (full context)
Nature, Power, and Persistence Theme Icon
...there for a long time. She realizes that she has passed some test, unlike the anthropologist. (full context)
Objectivity vs. Subjectivity Theme Icon
...keeper’s photo, needing to know that he wasn’t simply an apparition. She thinks about the anthropologist’s sample, which included human brains. (full context)