Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl" in social context

Topics: Ten Commandments, Antigua, Jamaica Kincaid Pages: 3 (956 words) Published: September 24, 2014
Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” in Social Context
Jamaica Kincaid short story "Girl" was the first fiction work, which she has written. 650 words of prose poem is a mother teaching her daughter how she should behave and to do everything that Antiguan women do. There is no introduction, no action, no character description and no composition seen, only two voices, which at the end appears to be the mother and the daughter. Antigua, was the place, were Kincaid grew up during 50’s and 60’s. When she escaped from her family, Jamaica changed her name and started to write. The mother in the story seems to have full control of setting her daughter for her teenage years. While, the girl is kind of poor one, because she has to put up with the very intense rules that she gets from her mother. A mother gives commands to her daughter with a firm tone of voice, while daughter interrupts her mother twice: to protect herself and to ask the question. Jamaica Kincaid, using only two voices, is able to open the major issues: felinity, social classes and traditions. In like manner, despite the makeup and high heels, feminity is hard work if to mention cleaning the house and looking remarkable while doing it. In “Girl” woman seems to be identified with the looking after the house and its inhabitants. It is not surprising that in order to maintain their luxury and decent lady card, girls must obey the motherly advice. In the following quote expressed by the mother of the girl, where she is giving commands for her daughter in order to teach her to be decent lady, feminity is one of the main clauses about the problem if to speak about being successful lady in the family. “Wash the white clothes on Monday and put them on the stone heap; wash the color clothes on Tuesday and put them on the clothesline to dry” (1-2). This is the first commandment of a long list, that girl, in order to be honorable lady, must follow. The commandment begins with the cleaning of clothing - and, in particular,...
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