The Poem Girl by Jamaica Kincaid Essay

The Poem Girl by Jamaica Kincaid Essay

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The poem "Girl" by author Jamaica Kincaid shows love and family togetherness by creating microcosmic images of the way mothers raise their children in order to survive. Upon closer examination, the reader sees that the text is a string of images in Westerner Caribbean family practices.

Jamaica Kincaid has taken common advice that daughters are constantly hearing from their mothers and tied them into a series of commands that a mother uses to prevent her daughter from turning into "the slut that she is so bent on becoming" (380). But they are more than commands; the phrases are a mother's way of ensuring that her daughter has the tools that she needs to survive as an adult. The fact that the mother takes the time to train the daughter in the proper ways for a lady to act in their time is indicative of their family love. The fact that there are so many rules and moral principles that are being passed to the daughter indicates that mother and daughter spend a lot of time together.

The reader gets the impression that the advice that the mother gives her daughter has been passed down from many generations of women. The advice of the ages has enabled their daughters to endure hardships and to avoid making the same mistakes that they had made, such as planting okra far from the house because it attracts red ants. There were some women in the past that learned this lesson the hard way, and included it in the litany of advice for future generations. But "Girl" also shows the hostility and family dissension that the females suffer.

The world of the women is not comprised solely of setting the table for tea or determining which day to wash the white clothes or the colored clothes; there is a darker side to their lives. The mot...


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...ably performed tasks such as washing laundry on a rock, ironing her family's clothes, or cooking pumpkin fritters in very hot sweet oil.

When I first read "Girl" I was amazed at how much work young women had to do in early 1900's. We can definitely say that the role of women has changed over the years in the United States. We do not have to do so many grueling tasks to get through our everyday life. Today, mothers teach their daughters to be more independent. Women in third world countries do not have the luxuries we do. They still have many rules that hold them back from being their own person.

Works Cited

Jones, Gertrude. Personal Interview. April 15, 2006.

Paul. Ephesians 5:22-23. Life Application Study Bible.

Jamaica Kincaid. Vanessa Pupello. Fall 1997. Emory University.
April 15, 2006. http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/Kincaid.html

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