Female Gender Expectations And Gender Roles Essay

1487 Words Mar 21st, 2015 null Page
Jamaica Kincaid’s writing often contains societal critique. One reoccurring critique focuses on female gender expectations and gender roles in Antigua. Kincaid portrays these gendered concerns through the mother daughter dynamic. The mother connects to the cultural constraints, and serves as the authoritative voice. The mother’s authority outlines the rules for proper female behavior. Through “Girl,” Annie John, and My Brother, Kincaid portrays steps toward breaking away from gendered Antiguan society. Each piece is a successive step in the daughter’s journey, starting in adolescence, and ending in adulthood. As the title suggests, “Girl” is written from an adolescent female’s standpoint. The mother is the main voice in the piece. She commands the daughter to follow her guidelines in a domineering manner. Kincaid writes the piece in one long-winded sentence. This written style reverberates the mother’s voice and echoes the rules inside the reader’s head. Whatever viewpoint the daughter has is lost in the piece, subtly outlined in the italicized bits.
In the piece, the mother is passing on the perceived correct way to do things to her daughter. This is not the mother showing the daughter how to analyze literature or build a table. Instead, it is a litany of commands for household duties. Washing clothes, baking, cooking, cleaning, sewing, ironing, and setting the table are the main focuses. The explanation from the mother is “you are not a boy, you know.” (Kincaid…

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