Girl Jamaica Kincaid Analysis

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In reading world literature, it becomes abundantly clear that the reality of women being subjected to different and sometimes harsh treatment by society is not a regional or even a national truth. It is a theme that is extended from the beginning of time until present day in literary works. While there are many examples of this truth, Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” is exceptionally poignant. Kincaid’s careful use of form and character identities work in perfect tandem to convey the truths of human femininity. The first and arguably the most obvious technique that Jamaica Kincaid utilizes in her work is a very specific and unconventional form. The work follows no conventional rules of literature. The work is one continuous sentence divided by semi-colons. …show more content…
Just a mere handful of lines into the work, the mother says “always eat your food in such a way that it won 't turn someone else’s stomach; on Sundays try to walk like a lady and not like the slut you are so bent on becoming;” (Kincaid 1725). This same statement about the “slut you are so bent on becoming” is repeated on several occasions throughout the work. In the final instance of this phrase being used, Kincaid alters the words just slightly to read “…this way they won’t recognize immediately the slut I have warned you against becoming;” (1726). The word “slut” is a sexual term and has a negative connotation; in utilizing this word and formulating a repetitive mantra surrounding it, Kincaid emphasizes the importance of sexual purity on …show more content…
One interesting aspect of the girl’s identity is her age. While a numeric age is not directly mentioned, there is mention of cloths used during her menstrual cycle (Kincaid 1725). This indicates that the daughter is not a child, but the title indicates that she is not yet a woman. However, by intentionally mentioning the menstrual cloths, Kincaid further develops the identity of the girl. The menstrual cloths indicate an important step in sexual development which, based on demands about becoming a “slut,” the mother fears. In the final half of the work, there is a slight turn toward a more sexual connotation in the demands of the mother. The girl is told “this is how to behave in the presence of men who don’t know you very well…don’t squat down to play marbles…this is how to love a man, and if it doesn’t work there are other ways, and if they don’t work don’t feel too bad about giving up;” (Kincaid 1726). The demand about playing marbles indicates that the girl is young enough to play marbles, but is old enough that the position in which she would be playing is no longer acceptable. This identity of a girl who is too old to play marbles like the other children but too young to know how to love a man indicates the importance of sexual behavior and sexual development in women

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