Lucy By Jamaica Kincaid Analysis

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The most turbulent and liberating moment of life is the moment one ‘leaves the nest’. Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy paints the troubled narrative of a young woman finding a new life in America and wrestling with the roles society has placed upon her. Lucy remarks that “on their way to freedom, some people find riches, some people find death” (Kincaid, 129). Lucy’s battle leads her down a road of riches of newfound independence, however, she ultimately finds herself in desolation.
There is a social norm to respect one’s elders that is universal throughout the world. Lucy refuses to follow this belief in the way that she completely resents her mother. Much like those who have ‘daddy issues’, Lucy is haunted by her failing relationships with her mother.
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Lucy despises this notion almost as much as she loathes her mother and struggles with it daily. One concept she finds very repulsive is the importance of a woman’s image. She is disgusted by Dinah’s obsession with beauty and comments that “among the beliefs I held about the world was that being beautiful should not matter to a woman, because it is one of those things that would go away” (Kincaid, 57). Later on she mentions that “for the first time ever [she] entertained the idea that [she] might be beautiful”, but declares that she will “not make too big a thing of it” (Kincaid, 132). Lucy’s rejection of society’s emphasis on appearance frees her from the insecurities that are brought upon by a self-image based on looks. Instead, she finds her self-worth in her intelligence and autonomy. At this point, Lucy has lived in America for over a year, and still she says “Everything I could see made me feel I would never be part of it, never penetrate to the inside, never be taken in” (Kincaid, 154). Although she has found this new independence in America that she would not have found as a woman at home, she is still pained by her disconnection with the society around her. From leaving her family to leaving Mariah, her path to becoming an independent woman has forced herself to sacrifice a sense of security that comes with belonging. The lack of strong feminine role models to look up to forces her to define herself as a woman independently. Lucy’s own paradigm of what a women should be so heavily stresses independence that she forgets how important interdependence really
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