Jamaica Kincaid- Girl

Topics: Family, Woman, Wife Pages: 3 (1090 words) Published: November 13, 2006
Jamaica Kincaid- Girl

The poem "Girl" by author Jamaica Kincaid shows love and family togetherness by creating microcosmic images of the way mothers raise their children in order to survive. Upon closer examination, the reader sees that the text is a string of images in Westerner Caribbean family practices. Jamaica Kincaid has taken common advice that daughters are constantly hearing from their mothers and tied them into a series of commands that a mother uses to prevent her daughter from turning into "the slut that she is so bent on becoming" (380). But they are more than commands; the phrases are a mother's way of ensuring that her daughter has the tools that she needs to survive as an adult. The fact that the mother takes the time to train the daughter in the proper ways for a lady to act in their time is indicative of their family love. The fact that there are so many rules and moral principles that are being passed to the daughter indicates that mother and daughter spend a lot of time together. The reader gets the impression that the advice that the mother gives her daughter has been passed down from many generations of women. The advice of the ages has enabled their daughters to endure hardships and to avoid making the same mistakes that they had made, such as planting okra far from the house because it attracts red ants. There were some women in the past that learned this lesson the hard way, and included it in the litany of advice for future generations. But "Girl" also shows the hostility and family dissension that the females suffer. The world of the women is not comprised solely of setting the table for tea or determining which day to wash the white clothes or the colored clothes; there is a darker side to their lives. The mother gives the daughter advice on how to handle men and how to make an abortion-inducing drug, indicating that there are times in their lives when they must resort to unprincipled means to deal with the problems in their...
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