Girl in Translation

Annette Character Analysis

Annette is Kim's first and only friend at school. Her skin is so pale as to be translucent, which Kim finds fascinating. For the first year of school, Annette helps Kim in class by writing answers for her; Kim usually knows the answers in Chinese, and Annette's translations simply help her verbalize her thoughts. Annette is relatively well off; she and her brother live in a large house with pets and a housekeeper. At the beginning of their friendship Annette is curious as to how Kim lives, but when Kim mentions that she works in a factory, Annette insists that cannot possibly be true. At various points Annette takes Kim shopping or out for fun events, where they experiment with makeup and perfume—and because Annette is white, salesladies are willing to help her in a way they're unwilling to help Kim. In high school, Annette gets involved in theater and becomes very interested in protesting for social or political causes; she even calls herself a communist. Annette's activism is somewhat troubling for Kim, as Kim recognizes that Annette doesn't have real-world experience to guide her beliefs. Kim fears, for example, that Annette would protest and have the factory shut down if she knew Kim worked there, something that Kim and Ma couldn't afford. When Annette is a senior, she finally discovers that Kim and Ma live in dire poverty. Though she's hurt and feels betrayed, she's mostly upset that Kim never asked for help. Annette is instrumental in helping Kim find a new apartment. She also attends Kim's abortion appointment with her and is a pillar of support while Kim decides whether or not she wants to continue her pregnancy.

Annette Quotes in Girl in Translation

The Girl in Translation quotes below are all either spoken by Annette or refer to Annette. 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:
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead edition of Girl in Translation published in 2010.
Three Quotes

Annette was referring to a girl in our class she didn't like because she said the girl was a know-it-all, which she also wrote down for me. It confused me because wasn't it a good thing to know so much?

Related Characters: Kim (speaker), Annette
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:
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She asked me what I did after school, and when I answered that I was usually working at the factory, she went home and asked her father about it. The next day, she told me it had been a silly thing to say since kids didn't work in factories in America […] that day, I began to understand that there was a part of my life that should remain hidden.

Related Characters: Kim (speaker), Annette, Mr. Avery
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:
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Four Quotes

"Ah-Kim, if you go too many times to her house, we will have to invite her back to ours one day and then what? Little heart's stem, we already have too many debts we can't repay."

Related Characters: Ma (speaker), Kim , Annette
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
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Five Quotes

"Honey, look at me."

I was so startled by the word "honey" that I obeyed. I had heard Mrs. Avery using it for Annette. This was not a word principals used back home.

Related Characters: Mrs. LaGuardia (speaker), Kim , Annette, Mrs. Avery
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:
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Nine Quotes

"Annette. Stop it […] This is not some abstract idea in your head. This is my life. If you do something to protest, we could lose our job."

Related Characters: Kim (speaker), Ma, Annette
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ten Quotes

School was my only ticket out and just being in this privileged school wasn't enough; I still needed to win a full scholarship to a prestigious college, and to excel there enough to get a good job.

Related Characters: Kim (speaker), Annette
Page Number: 206
Explanation and Analysis:
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Twelve Quotes

I was just a poor girl whose main practical skill was bagging skirts faster than normal […] I was good at school but so were many of the other kids, most of whom had been groomed since birth to get into the right college. No matter how well I did in my classes or how well I managed to fake belonging to the cool circle, I knew I was not one of them.

Related Characters: Kim (speaker), Annette, Curt, Dr. Weston
Page Number: 247
Explanation and Analysis:
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"I knew you didn't have a lot of money but this is ridiculous. No one in America lives like this."

I stated the obvious. "Actually, they do."

Related Characters: Kim (speaker), Annette (speaker)
Page Number: 251
Explanation and Analysis:
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"Does it have heat?"

She looked startled. "Do you mean central heating?"

"Yes, does it have radiators that work?"

"Of course it does. I mean, don't worry, the heat works great."

Related Characters: Kim (speaker), Mrs. Avery (speaker), Annette, Dr. Weston
Page Number: 254
Explanation and Analysis:
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Annette Character Timeline in Girl in Translation

The timeline below shows where the character Annette appears in Girl in Translation. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Two
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...find the school. He points her to a desk next to a chubby white girl (Annette) and Kim promptly spills the contents of her pencil case in her nervousness. Annette helps... (full context)
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...Kim can't understand his intent (a pop quiz on capital cities), so she looks at Annette's sheet for a clue. Mr. Bogart snatches Kim's paper away, calls her a cheater, and... (full context)
Three
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...Kim has no idea why everyone laughed and returns to her seat, burning with shame. Annette whispers to Kim that it's called an “eraser” in the U.S., and she pushes one... (full context)
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
...slightly different and so Mr. Bogart takes off points. After the eraser incident, Kim and Annette become friends. Annette draws rude drawings of Mr. Bogart that Kim doesn't fully grasp but... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Kim begins to look forward to school because of the heat and because of Annette. Annette wears braces, which is a new concept for Kim, and brings cold snacks to... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...kids, as they all get free hot lunch. However, Kim has no friends aside from Annette, and she doesn't fit in at all. Her clothing is homemade, and Ma keeps her... (full context)
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
...wonderful Tyrone is, which embarrasses Tyrone to no end. Kim secretly leaves Tyrone candy when Annette gives her some. (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...Kim believes she was happy to finally take Kim's spot as the best student. With Annette, Kim revels in how kind she is: she gives Kim whatever she has, whether it's... (full context)
Four
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Mr. Bogart assigns a diorama depicting conflict resolution skills. Annette and Kim decide to work together, and Ma allows Kim to go to Annette's house... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
...Kim to the housekeeper, whom Kim greets with a handshake. The housekeeper makes Kim and Annette a snack of yellow cheese on Ritz crackers and finally, Annette leads Kim to her... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...forbids Kim from going over again. Ma insists that they wouldn't be able to invite Annette to their apartment to repay the debt. (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
As Christmas approaches, Kim agonizes over what to get Annette for a gift. Ma isn't sure what they should buy for a white girl, but... (full context)
Five
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...tells Ma that they only get report cards once per year. She also discovers that Annette will be attending a private school called Harrison Prep next year, and she wonders what... (full context)
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...think she knows karate, so he challenges her to a fight after school. Kim and Annette are terrified. Annette insists they need to tell an adult, but Kim resists—she's more afraid... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...apply to a private school. Kim is surprised; she thinks Mrs. LaGuardia believes she's like Annette, with a housekeeper and wealth to afford private school. Kim tries to pretend this is... (full context)
Six
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
In class the next week, Kim mentions her interview to Annette. Annette wants to know if Kim thinks she passed the admissions test, which she insists... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...even agrees to buy Kim one. Kim writes the same thing in everyone's books but Annette and Tyrone's; she writes in Annette's that they're best friends and in Tyrone's, she wishes... (full context)
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...morning of Kim's graduation ceremony. Kim wishes she could make Ma proud as she watches Annette and Tyrone win all the academic awards. Mrs. LaGuardia stands to speak. Kim is barely... (full context)
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Annette finds Kim and hugs her, excited they'll both be going to Harrison. Mr. and Mrs.... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Annette sends Kim postcards from camp over the summer. Kim gives Annette her real address, as... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
...afternoon, Kim is shocked to hear someone ringing their doorbell. She looks outside to see Annette and immediately ducks down and waits for Annette to leave. A few days later, Annette... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
...from trying to keep up with the English instruction by lunchtime, when she finally meets Annette. She's shocked when Annette gets in line with her for hot lunch; Annette explains that... (full context)
Seven
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Kim and Annette sit together for lunch every day, where Annette talks at length about her classes and... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Annette also struggles to fit in at Harrison, as she looks funny and is outspoken. Tammy... (full context)
Eight
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...card into Kim's locker apologizing, but avoids Kim after that. Kim doesn't tell Ma or Annette about what happened, especially since she's still embarrassed that she thought Tammy would pass her... (full context)
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
One afternoon, Annette convinces Kim to come with her to a movie. Kim makes up an excuse for... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
For the summer, Annette goes to camp upstate and Kim returns full-time to the factory. She explains that she... (full context)
Nine
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Though Kim has several casual friends, Annette remains her only true friend. In ninth grade, Annette begins to "get political." She starts... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
One afternoon, when Annette finds Kim in the library, she asks why Kim is never home in the afternoons.... (full context)
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
A week before the exam, Annette insists on taking Kim to Macy's to relax. Kim is skeptical that this is even... (full context)
Ten
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
By tenth grade, Kim is one of the best students at her school. One evening, Annette asks Kim on the phone how she manages to do so well, given that she... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Annette accepts Kim's limitations for the most part. As the year goes on, Annette develops an... (full context)
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Annette gets involved in theater in eleventh grade. Mr. Jamali comments on her love of the... (full context)
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...man for his passport and papers and when he attempts to intimidate her, she dials Annette's phone number but says to the man that she's calling the police. The man races... (full context)
Eleven
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Kim finds Annette at the theater and tells her about the party. Annette believes that Kim likes Curt,... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...is made worse by the fact that Kim genuinely likes Vivian. Finally, Kim confides in Annette, who insists that Kim is more in love with the idea of Matt than Matt... (full context)
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
On the evening of Curt's party, Kim goes to Annette's house. She greets Mrs. Avery warmly and Annette lets Kim borrow a daringly short dress... (full context)
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Annette spots a friend from theater, so Kim takes Annette's purse to the bedroom. Kim flips... (full context)
Twelve
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mr. Jamali casts Annette as the lead in Our Town, and Kim promises to be there on opening night.... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...studying. She hears a knock at the door and is so surprised she opens it. Annette stands there and looks over Kim's shoulder at the apartment, taking in Kim's faux fur... (full context)
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Kim explains that she'll be able to get out of the apartment soon as Annette looks around. She shrieks when she notices Kim's iced-over soy sauce and a roach drinking... (full context)
Thirteen
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...time wandering around Chinatown, where she learns that Matt knows everyone. One afternoon, Kim invites Annette to join them in a Chinese café. Annette is insistent on getting a real Chinese... (full context)
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
...tries to kiss her, but she redirects his lips to her cheek. Later, Kim tells Annette. Annette insists that Kim tell Matt, but Kim explains that if he knew, he'd want... (full context)
Epilogue
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Kim explains that both Ma and Annette had gone with her to her abortion appointment. They sat outside as a tech performed... (full context)