How the narrator in “Little Annie’s Ramble” describes his ethnographic endeavor says more about himself than it does about the events of the day:
Adult vs. Child ~ Like Peter Pan, our narrator is removed from the features of aging – essentially, beyond his erroneous outward appearance, he still a child. Failing to have matured along side his contemporaries, his interests align closer to what might amuses Little Annie and that which they share symbolizes an inherently both feminine and childish position.
Straight vs. Gay/Masculine vs. Feminine ~ Admitting that “grown ladies” are incapable of captivating his attention also complicates our understanding of this character as someone who experiences a daily repression. The text is a consolidation of the narrator’s keen observations. He’s not shooting ducks or smoking cigars but instead soberly enjoying himself at a circus.
Foreign vs. Familiar ~ However, this is further complicated when the reader realizes that Little Annie and the narrator lack the genetic make-up to qualify their bond. While, it might be discernable for a father, brother, uncle or cousin to entertain the whims of their kin, the narrator’s behavior seems more predatory than benevolent.
- Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Little Annie’s Ramble.” From Twice-Told Tales , 1837, 1851 By Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1804-1864. Eldritch Press, n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. http://www.eldritchpress.org/nh/annie.html