Girl: Woman and Young Girls

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Girl by Jamaica Kincaid

“Girl”, is a short story by the renowned Jamaica Kincaid; a Caribbean author and poet. The story depicts the instructions of how young girls should conduct themselves in public. Young girl’s duties involve responsibilities such as cleaning, cooking as well as societal social behaviors. Kincaid instructs young girls “don’t sing benna on Sundays at all and never in Sunday school”. Kincaid also gives clear knowledge to the young girls that are not responsible for learning and maintaining a conjugal ritual in general. The young girls must know how to cater to the needs of men. Through this poem, Kincaid gives young girls instruction on how to be a lady, feeds the stereotype of being a female, and also empowers young girls to become strong women without becoming a gullible woman. Kincaid writes “Girl” as if she is a mother lecturing her daughter. Throughout the story, instruction is given. “This is how you smile to someone you don’t like too much; this is how to someone you don’t like at all; this is how you smile to someone you like completely” and “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” (Gioia, Kennedy, Backpack Literature 47) .This part of the short story explains how women should act in public by various reasons. Kincaid is trying to instruct young girls on how to handle different situations in the appropriate ways. Kincaid looks for many ways to instruct young girl in the right direction. She tells the young girls what not to do and what to do; she clearly states what young girls should take part of in life. She intends the advice to both help her daughter and scold her at the same time. Kincaid uses semicolons to separate the disapproves and words of wisdom but often repeats herself, especially to warn her daughter against becoming a “slut.” For example, she states “this is how to bully a man; this is how a...
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