Symbolism In Jamaica Kincaid's Girl

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Jamaica Kincaid is a novelist who was born in St. Johns, Antigua, in 1949. Her original name was Elaine Potter Richardson. The reason for her name change was because her family did not like the career path she chose for herself, so she no longer wanted ties with her family. She is known for writing stories that relate to the Caribbean culture. After moving to the United States at 17, she began writing for the New Yorker. One of her first pieces of fiction that she wrote was the short story, “Girl.” The short story was written in 1983. It is a one sentence lecture from a mother to her daughter. The daughter only gets to say two things while her mother is lecturing her. The mother is giving the daughter advice. However, within her advice, she is scolding her as well. She wants her daughter to know the difference between right and wrong. The mother is giving her daughter this advice to help her survive in the world. …show more content…
Sometimes symbols can have a legitimate reason, or it can mean something completely different than stated. Within the short story “Girl”, Jamaica Kincaid uses symbolism throughout the whole story. Almost everything she mentions to her daughter has a different meaning than what she says. What the mother wants for her daughter is for her to know everything it will take for her to succeed in her later life. Whether it be singing the right songs, doing the right things, treating people right, or taking care of her future husband the correct way. Her mother however, never taught her how to do well in school. This should be the most important thing a mother teaches her child because that is how one shall succeed on his or her own. In her mother’s eyes though, this is the role of a man. One can assume when the last sentence of the short story that the daughter did not retain any information that her mother said because with her last statement, the daughter still feels as if she is not good

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