…to go on about instructions and warnings. The speaker in the story is a mother talking to her daughter. There is no introduction of the characters, no action, and no description of setting. The mother’s voice simply begins speaking, “Wash the white clothes on Monday,” and continues through to the end. This story is based on Kincaid’s own life and her relationship with her mother.
All throughout their lives before reaching womanhood girls are given advice on how to present them selves. This advice helps to shape the mind, thoughts, and personality of a woman. It may also even help determine a woman’s role in society.
Jamaica Kincaid’s story “Girl” is about a mother delivering a long series of instructions and warnings to her daughter. She gives her instructions on how to speak, act, cook, clean, and how to carry herself as a lady. The way that the daughter is spoken to is not in a gentle manner filled with love. The mother speaks down to her child telling her such things as, “this is how to behave in the presence of men who don’t know you very well, and this way they won’t recognize immediately the slut I have warned you against becoming.”
It can be assumed that this daughter probably just started her monthly period, from the line towards the beginning to “soak her little clothes right after she takes them off.” This kind of event is representative of a little girl becoming a woman. This makes the speech of the mother makes a little more sense. She is explaining to her daughter all the things she will need to know as a woman. The unfortunate part for the girl is that she will have to grow up so quickly. No more playing with marbles, no more picking flowers, or singing benna on Sundays. In an instant she has earned increased responsibility for her actions.
Kincaid seems to greatly understand how a mother, who has grown up being around a Man, has…
- Category: English
- Words: 477
- Pages: 2