The Presence And Action Of The Word Lecture

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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. We can infer, however, that the characters are a mother and her daughter. Kincaid writes short stories “about growing up in Antigua,” (Kincaid 483) so we can assume that the mother is Kincaid’s mother and the daughter is Kincaid. The relationship between the mother and daughter seems to lack respect as the mother advices her daughter without any consideration of her daughter’s thoughts or feelings. The daughter interrupts her mother twice to defend herself, but her mother doesn’t acknowledge her. The mother doesn’t seem to have much respect for the daughter as she often shows how she believes that she will become “the slut I have warned you against becoming” (Kincaid 484). The mother drills into her daughter the importance of keeping her innocence. The mother’s advice might come off as rude, but through further reading it becomes apparent that the mother is trying to teach her daughter how to survive and thrive in a society where women have certain restrictions and expectations. The mother offers advice that would help the daughter live in a rustic area. Kincaid writes stories about her upbri... ... middle of paper ... ...other is at the end when the mother tells her to “always squeeze bread to make sure it’s fresh” (Kincaid 484). The daughter asks “what if the baker won’t let me feel the bread?” (Kincaid 484) and the mother tells her that if she follows her advice, then she will be a respectable lady who the baker would “let near the bread” (Kincaid 484). The mother wants the same thing that any mother wants for her daughter, for her to follow her teachings and become a woman to be proud of. Her mother wants her to flourish in a society where women are limited in their opportunities, and judged for their behavior. Despite the setback appointed to her daughter by their society, the mother wants her daughter to be proud and merry even when life takes an unexpected turn. She wants her to be a woman who you would smile at, a woman who could walk into a bakery and pick the freshest bread.

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