Jamaica Kincaid Girl

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“Girl”, written by Jamaica Kincaid, is a challenging read because it uses a list or commands in the place of a traditionally structured story: interpretation of the main idea is not easy to pick up on. Essentially, “Girl” is laundry list of instructions that a mother is reading off to her daughter. Referring to “Girl” as a story—the tale is without a plot and a narrator, tools that would normally be used to guide the reader in the direction of its purpose for being. Instead, Kincaid attempts to force the reader into looking past the surface of this list of instructions to understand the reason for it being spoken; leaving it to the reader to interpret what is being said and why. The list-like story heavily relies on the message is trying to send and the symbolism in the use of the list.…show more content…
The mother is lecturing her daughter on how to live the exemplary lifestyle of an Antiguan woman or wife. She details the mundane “do’s” of a common domestic homemaker, leaning on the repetitive day-to-day nature of living that kind of life, and advocating the explicit “don’ts” that would result in the baker’s suggestive refusal of permission to “let her feel the bread” (Kincaid 124) to gauge freshness because of the type of person she is perceived to be. That’s like saying “I don’t know where you’ve been!” solely based the observation on how that person presents himself/herself. This prose poem is teaching two separate subjects: how to be a proper housewife—cleaning (sweeping, clearing, arranging), cooking, prepping (washing clothes, ironing clothes, dinner table placement), manners, catering, etc.—and how not to be a hussy or how to avoid detection—never sing explicit songs, never squat like a boy (because it reveals too much), how to behave around men to settle the notion that a slut is present, and how to abort a

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