Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” shows in society how a woman should be placed and what it means to be a woman. A women doesn’t question her partner, instead she is subservient to him. A woman’s duties include staying at home taking care of the children and cooking; while the man works and brings home the money. A feministic approach to Kincaid’s “Girl” points to the idea of the stereotypes that women can only be what they do in the home, they should only be pure and virtuous, and their main focus should be satisfying their husband.
The story starts with a female speaker describing some household chores to her daughter : “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;don 't walk barehead in the hot sun;cook pumpkin fritters in very hot sweet oil;soak your little cloths right after you take them off…” These chores are very long and tedious and they only deal with cleaning and cooking something. When women do chores like this it is not seen as work, but more as a woman’s responsibility. Women in this society are obligated to do thing like this because it is her place in the world to do so, and if she is seen challenging this idea she will be punished for doing so.
Along with doing chores women are supposed to be modest and are only allowed to be sexual to the man they marry : “ Females have been depicted in literature and culture as Mary or Eve, the angelic mother or the evil seductress” ( Lynn 227)The mother/ speaker in the story tries very adamantly, though with sometimes harsh language, to keep her daughter from becoming this “ Eve” : “...On Sundays try to walk like a lady a...
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...arn all these “ how to’s”from someone, most likely her mother. The speaker’s mother didn’t let her speaker her mind or even let be open to the thoughts of having a career or embracing her sexuality as a woman. She only let her daughter learn out clean, cook, and be a good wife. Women are more than what we do or cook, we are the providers and carriers of life.
In all, Kincaid was able to tell the truest story of a sad cycle women have had to go through for centries. She used the voice of innocence to give light to the issues of women’s rights. This poem was not designed to be a protest, but more of a display of what women should be. Women are were only meant to be maids, wives, mothers, and cooks; anything more would be asking for too much. Kincaid used the stereotypical gender roles prescribed to women to give a true picture of society’s expectation of women and men.
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