The text “Girl” written by Jamaica Kincaid appears to be a collection of instructions given by a Mother to her daughter encompassing various aspects of life such as household chores, manners, cooking, social conduct, and relationships. While these instructions may come across as demanding, they are ultimately the parent’s way of guiding the girl towards proper development, highlighting their care for her. Throughout the story, the mother consistently accuses the daughter of having a determination to become promiscuous, despite no evident behavior from the girl to provoke such suspicions. The girl is actually well-behaved, as evident when she responds to her mother’s question about singing Benna in Sunday school by saying, “but I don’t sing Benna on Sundays at all and never in Sunday school.” This response is followed by further instructions not to sing Benna in Sunday school. The mother’s suspicion regarding her daughter’s promiscuity may be influenced by her own experiences growing up.
The mother in the story provides instructions on “how to make good medicine to throw away a child before it even becomes a child.” This indicates that the mother has personal knowledge of such actions. The final line of the story, “you mean to say that after all you are really going to be the kind of woman who the baker won’t let near the bread?” can be seen as another test of the girl’s morals. However, I believe it challenges her strength as an individual instead. It is ironic that the mother has forcefully required the girl to learn all her habits and methods without allowing her much say in decisions, yet expects her to possess the same strength as her mother. This strength was acquired through experience, not instruction.