Jamaica Kincaid Girl

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Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” is a literary work that details the duties of women in the Caribbean. Kincaid uses this story as a way of conveying the view and work of women not in just the Caribbean, but in the world at the time. Being written in 1978, “Girl” gives a retrospective view on patriarchal society at the time. Words such as “benna”, “okra”, and “dasheen” are associated with a tropical Caribbean area, which makes sense since Kincaid was born and raised in Antigua. Kincaid chronicles what is assumed to be her mother’s advice on all things a woman must do; guidance on how to plant okra crops, how to wash, hang and iron laundry, how to clean the house, and how to cook, among other items. While not explicitly stated, these are all mostly tasks…show more content…
The mother, while giving out these words of advice in a rather harsh, commanding tone, seems to worry over the appearance of her daughter, going as far as to say, “…on Sundays try to walk like a lady and not like the slut you are so bent on becoming;” (Kincaid 576). This exemplifies the harsh critique of her daughter’s habits, as it is consistently repeated throughout the passage. In addition, the mother states, “…this is how to make a good medicine to throw away a child before it even becomes a child;” (Kincaid 577). While no explanation is given, it can be assumed that this piece of advice is how to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, which can be related to the previous quote. However, it should be taken into account that Kincaid’s actions are possibly not as promiscuous as her mother believes. This can be seen through the italicized dialogue she inputs. This dialogue gives off the tone of a timid, unsure girl, with quotes such as, “…but I don’t sing benna on Sundays at all and never in Sunday school;” (Kincaid 576). Kincaid’s shy, innocent words are ignored by her mother. Unlike the first time however, when the girl asks a question, her mother responds in a scathing, rhetorical question. There is little two-way communication between her mother and Kincaid herself; any form of inquiry from Kincaid’s side was rebuffed by her mother. Despite these undertones, the mother does give these words of advice out of concern for her

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