When Kincaid wrote, “this is how you hem a buttonhole…” the process to hem a buttonhole began to symbolize a sense of domesticity to save her “sexual reputation”. The mother is so strongly bent on straying the daughter away from anything that could affect their reputation. Consequently, she is forcing her daughter into social norms and stereotypical ways a woman is expected to behave. In a way, it can be said that the mother is domesticating her daughter into a life to keep her from promiscuity. Before the mother says, “… the slut you are so bent on becoming” (Kincaid 92) each time, she states a certain way the daughter should behave.
The presence and action of the word “lecture” is often perceived to have a negative connotation, as people feel berated when being lectured. In the poem “Girl,” Jamaica Kincaid presents a mother who is lecturing her child. The lecture that the mother is giving her child can be initially discerned as one that is given in a negative way. However, through further analysis, it is seen that the mother is giving her daughter advice on how to live in an Antiguan and patriarchal society because she wants her daughter to grow up to live a successful and fulfilling life. The poem starts off without introducing the characters, the setting, or the plot.
In “Boys and Girls”, the protagonist, a young girl, is caught between her desire to live in a male-oriented world and her mother’s protests to play her part as a female in the family. The girl resists female chores such as cleaning and preparing meals. Finding them “endless” and “depressing”, favoring work done “out of doors” with her father, “ritualistically important”. However, her effort to neglect this gender role does not go without struggle. She listens relentlessly to her mother, claiming “it’s not like I had a girl in the family at all.” The word “girl” becomes a burdening reminder of not who she is, but what the girl is expected and pressured “to become”.
He regards his daughter as just another woman and approaches raising her in the same manner that he treated his wife. Edna’s distant relationship with her sisters is shown in her refusal to go to the wedding  and her distaste for the motherly tones in her elder sister’s affections . Coming from an isolated plantation, her youth was lonely and in result she grew to lack proper social skills and became more sensitive to kindness. This is supported by Adele’s statement to Robert, “...she is not like us. She might make the unfortunate blunder of taking you seriously.” ... ... middle of paper ... ... follow them.
The story ends with the girl socially positioned and accepted as a girl, which she accepts with some unease. The young girl in the story is struggling with finding her own gender identity. She would much rather work alongside her father, who was “tirelessly inventive” (Munro 328), than stay and work with her mother in the kitchen, depicted through, “As soon as I was done I ran out of the house, trying to get out of earshot before my mother thought of what to do next” (329). The girl is torn between what her duties are suppose to be as a woman, and what she would rather be doing, which is work with her father. She sees her father’s work as important and worthwhile, while she sees her mother’s work as tedious and not meaningful.
Not only did the mother’s good intentions bring about failure and disappointment from Jing Mei, but rooted in her mother’s culture was the belief that children are to be obedient and give respect to their elders. "Only two kinds of daughters.....those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind!" (Tan1) is the comment made by her mother when Jing Mei refuses to continue with piano lessons. In the end, this story shows that not only is the mother-daughter relationship intricately complex but is made even more so with cultural and generational differences added to the mix. Work Cited Tan, Amy.
To refute the other argument that the mother does not specifically address her daughter’s outburst is that in the story she does address the outburst, just not in the ways that would seem conventional. After all, this is a story set years ago in a time that modern day parenting is quite different from in the 60’s. The mother addresses the last outburst of the daughter by asking her daughter after all this time she took to teach her daughter how to be a respectable young woman she won’t even take any of the teachings and become just another ‘slut’ in the eyes of the community. This paper argued that the mother in Jamaica Kincaid’s short story “Girl” is loving towards her daughter because the mother is taking time to teaching her daughter how to be a woman, and because she wants to protect her in the future from society’s judgment. Kincaid showed that the mother cared and loved her daughter.
In Jamaica Kincaid’s Girl, a mother simultaneously berates her daughter with instructions and teaches her what is expected from her as a woman. Kincaid uses repetitive details frequently throughout the story. For example, the mother tells her daughter “how to hem a dress” and “behave in the presence of men” so that the daughter can avoid “looking” and being “recognize[d]” as the “slut” she is “bent on becoming” (437-8). Her mother’s message of avoiding acting ‘slutty’ exposes modern gender stereotypes. The repetitive details suggest that a girl must dress and behave a certain way to avoid being branded a slut.
In the story “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, a mother is talking to her daughter about all of the things that a respectful lady does. She 's telling her young daughter that if she acts like a slut then no one will respect her in society. The mother in this story seems to us to be extremely brutal. But back when this story was written women were not seen as members of
These two techniques make the text somewhat relatable to the reader’s own personal experiences with their elders. The mother’s experiences as an unknowingly repressed woman led to her skewed mentality of what it means to be a female in society. This mentality negatively affected her opinion of her daughter’s choices, making her feel as though she needed to give instruction and judgment to her daughter. Reader’s see that not everything can be passed from generation to generation. Mother isn’t always right.