Short Story Girl: An Analysis Of Jamaica Kincaid's Girl

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In the short story, “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, to me the idea and tone reflect that of a mother, who by her own past experiences and suppression of being a woman in her time and tradition, tries to administers guide to her own daughter in a changed world, to subdue her daughters modern ways and current views on society and their culture. The author of this story sets the stage as a sort of “how to” structure for the way women should behave, dress, and their expected duties; or at least the way she feels the daughter in this story should retain such etiquette.

Throughout this piece, tradition is emphasized, for instance the mother explaining to her daughter how to make, grow and prepare Caribbean food, most like the old ways in which she was
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Most likely due to the fact that “benna,” was a style of Caribbean folk music, introduced after slavery that centered their lyrics on flagrant gossip, societal scandals, worded with sexual scatology. Thus a clear reason for the mother to sway her daughter from such ungodly musical banter, as it is not religious in nature and could cause more harm than good in trying to teach the daughter. I feel the mother sees image to be important in their Antiguan society, as most Antiguans lives are encompassed by their social status within the community. And even though the mother writes these instructions for guidelines on how her daughter should live, there is frustration within the mothers tone and demeanor; as she feels no matter what she says, her daughter might be too far gone into her own way of thinking. The mother thinks the daughter has already set herself up for a life of promiscuity. The mother even goes to the extreme of instructing her daughter on “how to make medicine to throw away a child before it even becomes a child.” This is a clear concoction to remedy an unwanted pregnancy. The mother probably herself had experienced a promiscuous lifestyle and once used this exact abortion recipe; thus wanting to let her daughter know that this is what can happen when you take to the bed with men. She also reminds her to stay away from “wharf -rats boys or even give them directions.”

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