Identity In Girl By Jamaica Kincaid

804 Words 4 Pages
Significance in revealing the identity in “Girl”

Born the oldest and only girl of her family Jamaica Kincaid felt like her mother turned away from her at a young age. The distant relationship between her mother and her spark the theme for Kincaid’s works. On June 26, 1978, Kincaid wrote what is to be one of her most iconic works till this day. “Girl” is a one-sentence short story. Influenced by Elizabeth Bishop poems. Writing Girl helps Jamaica Kincaid find her voice as a writer. “Girl” was featured in Kincaid’s first book, “At the bottom of the river”, a collection of ten short stories. In the book, Kincaid talks about her expresses growing up girl in the Caribbean. In the story “Girl” through a mother figure Kincaid reveals the identity
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Kincaid expresses the importance of getting advice in her work “Girl”. The voice of the story is a mother, throughout the story, she gives advice to her daughter. Teaching her daughter how to take of different responsibilities. “this how you sweep a corner; this is how you sweep a whole house; this is how you sweep a whole yard;…(Kincaid 576).Just like in every child’s life there is some adult figure who they look up too and coaches them through life. The advice was given to daughters very strict and harsh the mom teaches the daughter all the responsibilities she would need to take care of in her life. Being strict or harsh is more effective when it comes to disciplining or teaching someone a specific lesson or task. The advice giving to the daughter in the story help shows the girl’s identity and who the mother says the daughter is going to be or is actually in life. Towards the end of the story after all the advice the mother gives to her daughter the mother almost ends up giving up on her and decides that who the daughter is going to be in life is just some slut. “…this is how to hem a dress when you see the hem coming down and so to prevent yourself from looking like the slut I know you are so bent on becoming;…( 576). Kincaid’s use of harsh and direct is what helps shape the girl’s …show more content…
In the article by scholar Carol Bailey, his focus is on the idea “preserving the self” Bailey states that readers of “Girl” only observe only the fictional representation of how to educate a child. Bailey points out how the speaker of “girl” provides many guidelines of living and lectures to the girl, but the girl has no room for discussion to defend herself. The idea that there is no room for discussion comes from the repetitions of “This is how” in Kincaid’s work “Girl” (Bailey 108). The constant nagging to a child of “This is how” gives the child no sense of just simply learning from her mistakes, instead she has to always strive to be correct. In order for women to be successful they need to appropriately perform their gender based on their culture, constantly being judge whether they do or

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