The Unrealistic Expectations In Jamaica Kincaid's Girl

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There is an unreasonably high expectation on women with how they should behave, what skills they should posses, and the image that they should emanate to the public. In the short story, “Girl”, written by Jamaica Kincaid, the arbitrary presumptions of women are put on display. The entire story is a list of rules on what it takes to be a woman, told to a young girl by her mother. Each sentence is a new rule that the daughter needs to follow and in order to keep the story flowing, Kincaid uses specific elements to add energy to her writing. The unrealistic expectations on women are depicted in the story by the use of repetition, double standards, and the increasing severity of the situation. Throughout the entire text, Jamaica Kincaid energizes the plot and…show more content…
After each sentence, the severity of the situation snowballs. The list of expectations for the daughter starts off easy, mainly with how to cook. It slowly progresses to, “this is how you hem a dress” or “how to sweep a whole house”(Kincaid 200). Eventually it builds up to the point informing how to abort a baby. The increasing intensity helps to keep the story moving. Kincaid finishes the degrading “slut” insults to her daughter with the powerful line, “the slut I have warned you against becoming”(Kincaid 201). Now she has warned her, but her fate is already decided, making this statement more intense than the previous two. The reader becomes intrigued to see what the mother will say next and if it will be worse. After every concept she placed on her daughter’s shoulders, she finished with the huge bang, “you mean to say that after all you are really going to be the kind of woman who the baker won’t let near the bread?”(Kincaid 201). Instead of a resolution, she still progresses to say that she believes her daughter will be “that kind of girl”. Kincaid uses growing turmoil to keep the story on the edge up until the last

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