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“Girl” by Jamica Kincaid

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 690
  • Category: Gender

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“Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid is a short story/poem was published in The New Yorker in 1978. There are many things that the story “Girl” shows us. One is the oppression of women and the lack of the options that women got. Another is the change in parenting techniques as orders like these wouldn’t be issued in today’s world. The narrator also shows how the gender role has grown since the late 1970s, shows the little girl protesting toward her mother, and shows the love a mother has for her daughter. Since the late 1970s the gender role has seemed to slightly switch up from where it was. Cooking and cleaning were mandatory house work for wives a few decades ago. In today’s time it really does not matter who does it, as long as everything gets done. Being proper and lady-like was a must and being indiscriminate and “talking to wharf-rat boys”. (Kincaid, 1978 p.352) Nowadays women are thrown into categories based on how they act and present themselves, and it should not be this way. Women have fought their way up to where they stand today, and even though we are still being categorized we stand tall and keep pushing forward.

As the old fashioned mother is telling her daughter how to become a proper lady and not a slut her daughter interrupts her by saying, “but I don’t sing benna on Sundays at all and never in Sunday school; this is how to sew on a button; this is how to make a button-hole for the button you have just sewed on; this is how to hem a dress when you see the hem coming down and so to prevent yourself from looking like the slut I know you are so bent on becoming” (Kincaid, 1978 p. 352). This statement was the first time her daughter protested what she was telling her. She protested her mother once more by saying, “But what if the baker won’t let me feel the bread?” (Kincaid, 1978 p. 352) The reason her daughter protests is to show her mother that she has learned things quickly and is still learning how to become a proper lady not a slut. “A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.” (Agatha Christie)

This quote online pretty much sums it up. A mother’s love can never be trumped and in this short story you see how caring the girl’s mother is about helping her become a proper lady. In the 1970s women pretty much did every household chore possible to please a man, but in today’s society as long as the house is clean and things are done men or women can do the chores. Society has grown so much over the years to help women fight their way to the top. Without everything us women used to do, we probably would have never become proper ladies and learn how to do anything we want. In the old days mothers educated their daughters on how to become proper young ladies, and in today’s world it seems mothers and daughters have lost that touch of communication.

Gender roles have changed for the better; these saying men do just as much housework as women do. People as a whole have gotten better at helping each other out and helping each other where it is needed. Of course life would not be the same if daughters protested what their mothers and fathers said. If kids did not disagree with their parents, get in trouble and learn from their mistakes, kids would be more disrespectful than what they are. Also, without a mothers love and support children would not know where to turn for the advice and comfort they need from time to time.


•Acosta, David L. Pike and Ana (). Literature: A World of Writing Stories, Poems, Plays, and Essays Vital Source eBook for Education Management Corporation [1] (Vital Source Bookshelf), Retrieved from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9780558711825/id/ch08box33 •http://voices.yahoo.com/jamaica-kincaids-girl-structure-language-convey-2318519.html •http://wp.stockton.edu/americanshortstoryprojectlitt2143kimonehyman/summary_girl_kincaid/ •http://www.searchquotes.com/search/Mothers_Love/

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