From a Girl to a Woman: A look at the perceived transformation into a domestic lifestyle in Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl”.
October 20th, 2010
The short story “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid is a story of the belief that happiness steams from a life of domesticity. The central topics of gender roles in a family structure, and the expression of female sexuality and will be examined. A look into the mother’s beliefs on the necessity of serving your husband and remaining sexually conservative will be the focus. Secondly, the importance of food and clothes in the story will be looked at, providing evidence to the central claim of being content with this lifestyle. Lastly, the relationship between the mother and daughter will be discussed, reflecting on if the views of the mother will ultimately make the decisions for the daughter, as to the path she will follow in her own life. The portrayal of gender roles in this story shows the husband as the breadwinner and the wife staying home to tend to the house and children. This could be considered traditional, however we would consider it outdated in western society today. This story has the mother, teaching her daughter her place in Antiguan society, most likely in the fifties, and in a marriage. This is demonstrated though the teaching of everyday tasks she will need to know to run a household smoothly. It is also clear that the mother’s life reflects these ideals that a husband should be the one working and the wife is to be happy and content by taking pride in her home. The mother also has very strong views on behavior and throughout the story gives many warnings on this such as “on Sundays try and walk like a lady and not like the slut you are so bent on becoming”. This is a very clear statement giving us an idea of the mother’s values with female sexuality as well as a reflection on the values at that time. She wants...
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