Nostalgia In Jamaica Kincaid's Girl

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Many written pieces can vary in language usage, yet still impact the character’s social ranking and mental attitude towards the world, and life itself. While Miklos Radnoti uses the juxtaposition between his past life and his current life in 7th Eclogue to emblemize hope, Ruta Sepetys uses the language of nostalgia in the form of flashbacks in Between Shades of Gray to illustrate the decline of her protagonist’s social rank. Similarly to the hopeful theme in the 7th Eclogue, Ruth Minsky Sender uses the symbol of hope in The Cage to display a rise in social rank. Though Girl by Jamaica Kincaid contains neither nostalgia nor hope, the story has a motif of obedience similar to Miklos Radnoti’s Fragment that lowers the characters’ social rank by…show more content…
Girl--by Jamaica Kincaid--is a piece about the duties of women, and about everything that is expected of women during their lives. The story is written in a way that it seems as though a mother or older woman is instructing a younger girl. The condescending tone of the older woman in the short story can be seen throughout the piece as phrases such as “be sure that” and “you mustn’t” (Kincaid 320) are used frequently. Mustn’t is a word with a harsh, negative connotation to it, that implies an unfavorable consequence if the order is not obeyed. This negative connotation demonstrates the low social rank of the younger character because it identifies that she can be commanded and controlled by someone with a higher social position. Be sure that is another congenial demonstration of this low place in society, because it reinforces that this social rank is consistent throughout the story. In addition to being commanding words, the vocabulary used by Kincaid is quite simple. This simplicity adds to the condescending tone of the older speaker in the piece. In summary, Kincaid’s use of simple vocabulary with a negative connotation displays the low social position of a character without revealing the character’s appearance, history, or personality.Similarly, Fragment by Miklos Radnoti is a poem with a tone of shame at what the world is like during the Second World War. It talks about how people are unable to raise their voices to authority, and how ordinary men kill others for pleasure. The theme of obedience in the poem can be seen clearly when Radnoti states that those “who risked protest were wise to hide” (Radnoti 12). The poet’s use of risked creates an image of punishment, because the word risk has a denotation of
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