Girl

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In the story Girl by Jamaica Kincaid the mother does most of the talking who gives her daughter a long list of instructions and warnings. The daughter responds twice but they happen to go unnoticed by the mother. There is no introduction of the characters, no action, and no description of setting. The mother's voice simply begins speaking, "Wash the white clothes on Monday," and continues through to the end. The mother dispenses much practical and helpful advice that will help her daughter keep a house of her own some day. She tells her daughter how to do such household chores as laundry, sewing, ironing, cooking, setting the table, sweeping, and washing. In Barbie By: Marge Pery doll the girl was also “Advised to play coy, exhorted to come on hearty, exercise, diet, smile and wheedle.”

The mother also tells the girl how to do other things she’ll need to know about, including how to make herbal medicines and catch a fish. Alongside practical advice, the mother also instructs her daughter on how to live a fulfilling life. She offers sympathy, such as when she talks about the relationships her daughter will one day have with men, warning that men and women sometimes “bully” each other. She also says that there are many kinds of relationships and some never work out. The mother also tells the girl how to behave in different situations, including how to talk with people she doesn’t like. Often, however, the mother’s advice seems caustic and castigating, out of fear that her daughter is already well on her way to becoming a “slut.” She tells the girl, for example, not to squat while playing marbles, not to sing any Antiguan folk songs in Sunday school, and to always walk like a lady. The girl periodically interjects to protest her innocence.
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