The short story “Girl,” by Jamaica Kincaid seems to be a list of instructions given from a Mother to her daughter. These instructions are relevant to topics such as household chores, manners, cooking, social conduct, and relationships. Although they seem demanding to the reader, these instructions are a parents attempt to help a girl to grow up properly, out of care for the daughter. Throughout the story, the mother repeatedly accuses the daughter of being determined to become a “slut.” This suspicion doesn’t seem to be provoked by the girl’s behavior.
The girl seems to be well behaved as indicated by her first line of input in the story, “but I don’t sing Benna on Sundays at all and never in Sunday school.
” This is a respond to her mother’s question on the girl’s singing of Benna, a music genre, in Sunday school, which was followed by instructions on not to sing Benna in Sunday school. The Mother’s suspicion to the daughter’s promiscuity could be fueled by experiences of the mother growing up.
One of the instructions the mother gives is “how to make good medicine to throw away a child before it even becomes a child.” This suggests that the mother has had to know such things for her own use. The last line of the short 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?” could be interpreted as the mother again challenging the girl’s morals. But I think this is instead challenging the girl’s strength as a person. It seem ironic that the mother has harshly demand the girl to learn all of the mother’s habits and methods, not giving the girl much of a word in any of her decisions, and then expects her to have the strength of her mother. Strength that was learned through experience, not instruction.
Cite this Girl By Jamaica Kincaid
Girl By Jamaica Kincaid. (2016, Dec 15). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/girl-by-jamaica-kincaid/