What Is The Theme Of Girl By Jamaica Kincaid

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Mothers, grandmothers, and stepmothers play an important role in every child 's life. They show and tell their child what to do. In the short story “Girl,” written by Jamaica Kincaid, a mother is doing just that. She is telling her daughter what to do and how to do it.“Girl” is more complex than a simple list of instructions and how-to’s. In Kincaid’s work, she dives deeply into the perspective of a young woman living in a poor country during the late 1970s as well as the girl’s mother’s perspective. Kincaid’s instructions go from basic house management to social etiquette and how to do well in life as a woman. Essentially, this short story shows the mother as an instructor and the daughter as a recipient of her instruction. Also, Kincaid …show more content…
To a certain degree, the short story is presented to the readers as a compilation of life instructions from mother to daughter on how to conduct herself in a way such that she does not jeopardize her future social status. Almost vehemently, the mother wants to be sure that her daughter has all the possible information that she can pass on to her. The mother wants to minimize the risk of her daughter failing in life by not knowing all the details that are involved in becoming a proper lady in the post-colonial, Antiguan society in the late 1970s. In this fashion, the mother pushes her commanding instructions onto the girl to the point of overstepping boundaries. Next, the mother starts degrading her daughter when she practically accuses her of being improper by saying, “. . . on Sundays try to walk like a lady and not like the slut you are so bent on becoming . . .” (1). Probably, the mother has observed a particular pattern of behavior displayed by her daughter that made her believe that if the girl does not makes immediate changes and follow her specific instruction she will lead an easy-virtuous, licentious …show more content…
We can find two sets of tone: the voice of the mother and the voice of the girl. The mom’s voice is bossy and imperative, like in this segment: “When you grow dasheen make sure it gets plenty of water or else it makes your throat itch when you are eating it.” (1). On the other hand, the girl’s voice is passive, apologetic and at one point defensive. The two times she speaks, is to defend herself from her mother’s accusation saying: “I don’t sing benna on Sundays at all and never on Sunday school.” (1). Next, she asked her mother, “ but what if the baker won’t let me feel the bread?”

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