Becoming A Woman In Girl By Jamaica Kincaid

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

Did you ever wish that someone gave you guidance or advice on how to live life correctly? Well, the short story, called “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid it gives you simply that. The short story is based on a mother giving a list of instructions to help her daughter grow up as a woman. Some may think her instructions sound bossy or hurtful, but to me, it was eye-opening, and the mother spoke honesty. Overall, the mother is teaching her daughter appearance and family life.

Throughout history, women have been suppressed by a group of people that had different views and therefore had to find ways to satisfy society. In 1983, Kincaid narrates the thoughts and moral beliefs of the time by her mother. Although the setting of the story is not clearly stated by the author, readers should be able to understand the culture for which “Girl” was written. The short story called “Girl” consists of a single sentence of advice a mother tells her daughter, only twice interrupted by the daughter to ask a question about defending herself. By giving the daughter advice, the mother had hoped that it will help her daughter and scold her altogether. Kincaid uses semicolons to separate the disapproval and words of wisdom but often repeats herself, especially when her mother warns her against becoming a “slut”. Besides these repetitions, “Girl” doesn’t proceed. There is no beginning or end to the stream.

The mother provides wisdom and realistic advice that will help her daughter keep a house of her own someday. She tells her daughter how to do such household chores as laundry, sewing, ironing, cooking, setting the table, sweeping, and washing. She 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. These words of wisdom suggest that the women live in poor, rural settings, where passing on such advice is essential for daily living.

Alongside helpful advice, the mother also instructs her daughter on how to live a satisfying 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 speaks about the different kinds of relationships and how some never work out. She tells the girl how to behave in different situations and how to handle people she doesn’t like.

However, the mother’s advice seems harsh and criticizing, out of concernment that her daughter is already well on her way to becoming a “slut”. Quoted in the story, she tells her “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; be sure to wash every day, even if it is with your own spit” (Kincaid 128). Also, the mother tells her “don’t squat down to play marbles you are not a boy, you know; don’t pick people’s flowers, you might catch something” (Kincaid 128).

By the words the mother spoke, you can tell they were passed down from generation to generation. Guidance from a mother to daughter should be set at a young age. Even though lessons are taught throughout life, can’t anything compare to a mother’s wisdom and understanding. In the short story called “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, the mother is teaching and preparing her daughter on how to be a woman but also teaching her it won’t be easy.


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