Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl”2009Thesis statement: The universal issue of motherhood dealt in Jamaica Kincaid’s story “Girl”. narrates about a mother’s seemingly old and obsolete warnings and advises (stemming out of her cultural mooring) to her young daughter about decent living is silently scorned by her modern mind showing the girl’s little empathy for her mother’s natural emotions—an attitude that needs changes given that in due course, she would be a mother some day having the same sort of worry. Outline1. Mother-daughter relation: The mother consistently scolding her young daughter not to become a “slut” she finds her “so bent on becoming”. 2.
The list of advises and warnings that apparently appears a verbal rant. 3. The real reasons of her worry a. Cultural: her background and heritageb. Eternal concern of a mother over her daughter’s future3. The silent protest of the girla. Cultural (she being a modern girl, it’s quite normal for her to find such advises outmoded)b. Respectful as she is towards her mother her defiance takes the form of keeping silence. 4. She should have empathy for her motherShe should rather try to understand her mother’s worry about her than to ridicule as deep inside that old woman, there are anxieties, and concerns for her young daughter. The arguments “Girl” (first published in 1978), the 640-word short story (some refer it as a poem) written by Jamaica Kincaid, is basically a silent scorn of a young girl towards her mother’s long, sermonic sort of directions and warnings to behave as it should be, and not to act, as she finds it, like a “slut”.
Of course, the mother is the main speaker, judging by the amount of her comments but it is obvious, that the daughter is the central character.
Edith Milton, in her 1984 New York Times Book Review, article about Kincaid’s short story collection At the Bottom of the River (1983, n which the story is included), finds that for the mother’s the repetition of those abuses “define in a few paragraphs the expectations, the limitations, and the contents of an entire life” (cited from Bily, Criticism, answers. com). The story describes the life of a woman, especially of a developing country. Life here implies life of a woman, especially of a developing country.
Kincaid was born in 1949 in St. John's, Antigua. Her becoming adult in Antigua under poverty, colonialism, and an unsure mother motivate her nervy, and at times contentious prose, much of which is closely related to these harsh tensions of her adolescence, in addition to the stiff control of a British colonial education system that worsened her sense of isolation(Kincaid, cla. umn. edu). At the Bottom of the River, her first book, a run of flowing "prose poems, " focuses on the rising consciousness of a young girl in the Caribbean "Girl, " perhaps the most important story here where she deals with themes of knowing one’s own culture and the "patriarchal politics of oppression" (Contemporary African American Novelists, 261263).