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Voices Of Women Writers Lesson

Powerful Essays
Parents play a crucial role in the development of children, varying from culture to culture. Although imperative, the mother and daughter relationship can be trivial. Many women writers have exercised their knowledge and shared their feelings in their works to depict the importance and influence of mothers upon daughters. Jamaica Kincaid, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Kiana Davenport are only three of the many women writers who have included mother and daughter themes in their texts. These writers explore the journeys of women in search of spiritual, mental and individual knowledge. As explained by these authors, their mothers' words and actions often influence women both negatively and positively. These writers also show the effects of a mother's lesson on a daughter, while following women's paths to discovery of their own voice or identity. In Kincaid's poem, Girl; Hong Kingston's novel, Woman Warrior; and Davenport's short story, The Lipstick Tree, various themes are presented in contrasting views and contexts, including the influence of mothers upon daughters.
It is said that a girl can often develop some of her mother's characteristics. Although, in their works, Kincaid, Hong Kingston and Davenport depict their protagonists searching for their own identities, yet being influenced in different ways by their mothers. Jamaica Kincaid's poem Girl, is about a young woman coming-of-age receiving helpful advice from her mother. In this poem, Kincaid addresses several issues where a mother's influence is beneficial to a young woman's character. The mother, or speaker, in Girl, offers advice to her daughter- advice that she otherwise would not learn without being told or shown. The mother advises the daughter about everyday tasks, and how to go about them properly (in her opinion).
'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 day; don't walk bare-head in the hot sun;…this is how to sew on a button; this is how to make a buttonhole for the button you have just sewed on; … this is how you sweep a corner; this is how you sweep the whole house…';
Most importantly, the mother offers advice that only a mother should. Although she is being informative and authoritative, the mother's tone is often condescending. In particul...

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...m, falling asleep wrapped in the smell of her childhood…She climbed to the top of the bunker again, and studied the horizon, seeing herself decanted into the future, going even further than WeWak…';

Jamaica Kincaid, Maxine Hong Kingston, Kiana Davenport utilize the methods of fiction and non-fiction to represent influential relationships such as the mother and daughter. In each of these texts, the writers present their perspective and knowledge, varying by culture and context. From each writer, the expression that individuality and lessons learned from mothers are essential for the development for a woman's identity. But most importantly, these writers evoke that it is beneficial to discover femininity and strength by going beyond tradition and the norm.

Works Cited
Davenport, Kiana. The Lipstick Tree. Women Writers coursepack. Fall 1999.

http://www.crwrl.utexas.e du/~natasha/usauto_html/kingston/gender.html. Kincaid, Jamica. Girl. Women Writers coursepack. Fall 1999
Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior. Random House: NY, April 1976.
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