Social Criticism In Jamaicaaica Kincaid's Girl By Jamaica Kincaid

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In the story “Girl”, Jamaica Kincaid illustrates the talk given to a young Antiguan girl about what is expected of her in order to make a point about the cultural pressures and unfair social boundaries that come with being a girl in the Caribbean. The author plays with word choice and sentence structure in a way that makes this unconventional writing style enjoyable and metaphorically resonant. Though it is possible to read this prose as a mother talking directly to her daughter and the daughter interjecting, it is actually indicative of a larger conversation between a Caribbean society and its young women; this can be most clearly seen in the discussion of Benna, of plant, animal, and human life, of promiscuity, and of manners. Benna is a musical genre similar to calypso; its lyrics often discussed British political scandals and had lewd double meanings. The daughter is instructed not to sing it in church, because the songs are about sexuality, politics and open rebellion - however, this instruction has a much larger societal meaning. The church was a symbol of European influence in Antigua because Christianity came to the island while it was becoming an English colony. Benna is Antiguan music and culture, and was not looked on favorably by the English. The real cultural instruction she is being given is not to bring Antiguan culture into European places. The little girl pleads that she “(doesn’t) sing benna on Sundays at all and never in sunday school,” (10-11) but she
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