Another Mother Dearest

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Another Mother Dearest

By | October 2012
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Another Mother Dearest
The mother in Jamaica Kincaid’s story "Girl" presents readers with another version of the overbearingly controlling mother in Mommy Dearest, the account of Joan Crawford as a mother by her adopted daughter Christina. This mother’s tone holds no affection or courtesy. She does not ask or request. She demands. The mother in Kincaid’s story has and unflinchingly delivers a strict doctrine of moral and behavioral ethics which she is ostensibly trying to pass on to her daughter. Kincaid does not present the reader with much to like about the mother and the characterization suggests that Kincaid does not like her either.The mother is rigid and distant. Though some modicum of her stern demeanor and strict parenting style may be attributed to the time period and the more authoritarian ways in which many parents reared their children two decades ago, the reader can glean from the sparse allowances for the girl to express herself at all that the relationship is not one in which the girl is allowed much room for self expression. The relationship between the girl and the mother is tight, constricted and frustratingly one-sided. The anxiety of the girl can be experienced only in the few lines wherein she attempts to tell the mother that she is not guilty of singing inappropriate songs in church or ever on Sunday at all. She implies that despite her best efforts to raise the girl properly that the girl is or will be a slut when she says, “on Sundays try to walk like a lady and not like the slut you are so bent on becoming;” and then again when she states, “this is how to behave in the presence of men who don’t know you very well, and this way they won’t recognize immediately the slut I have warned you against becoming;” (517) Kincaid reveals how impenetrable the mother is by having her simply go on with her instructions while not acknowledging the girl’s denial of events whatsoever. It is almost as if the girl is not even there or if her presence is...

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