Eng. 102 A-19
21 January 2013
Jamaica Kincaid’s short story “Girl” is of a complicated relationship with her mother that comes out in the mother-daughter dynamic in the story. The mother, obviously a dominant figure in the young girl’s upbringing, informs the young girl of various duties associated with being a young, dignified lady. Her mother gives the daughter advice to make her the "proper" woman she should in fact be, and this advice gets more and more firm as the story continues.
“Girl” is a very well suitable title for this story because the mother is instructing the child of the appropriate steps to take to become a woman, and had she already been a young woman then it wouldn’t be based off the mother acknowledging her of such things. The mother does most of the talking; she delivers a long series of warnings to the daughter, who twice responds but whose responses go unnoticed by the mother. For example, in the story the young girl asks if it was true that you sing benna in Sunday school. The mother, however, ignores her while continuing to tell her how to chew food in an appropriate way that won’t turn someone else’s stomach (157.) The simple fact that her mother opts to ignore her daughter lets the reader know that the daughter is very young because her mother felt that what she asked had no relation to the matter at hand and was a question a “child” would ask so therefore chose to disregard her; which further gives “Girl” a believable title. I can imagine myself as a young child when my mother was also instructing me on the correct way to do something, and of course not yet being a woman; I acted as a child, had the attention span of a child, and asked questions in the form of a child. This too would result in my Mother not responding to me in a message that says” that was irrelevant, and by me ignoring you will inform you that you’ve strayed from the topic.” So I then knew not repeat the question again. The...
Cited: Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." Literature: Reading Reacting Writing. Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Wadsworth, 2013. 156-57. Print.
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