Uploaded by nawalfatima306

English Assignment

“Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid is a powerful and thought-provoking short story that explores the themes
of tradition, gender roles, and societal assumptions. The story revolves around a mother who
provides her daughter with advice, aiming to mold her into a socially accepted young woman.
Throughout the narrative, the mother's voice dominates conversation, while the daughter's voice is
diminished. The mother mentions topics of household chores, behavior and sexuality. By
emphasizing these expectations, the mother pushes on traditional gender roles and societal norms.
Throughout the story, the mother is verbalizing the rules and expectations that her daughter
should have in order to maintain a good image. The mother advises “This is how to behave in the
presence of men who don't know you very well” and adds “this way they wont recognize immediately
the slut I have warned you against becoming”.She insinuates that by following guidelines, her
daughter will be well equipped to lead a fulfilling life, mainly by embracing the role of a domestic
housewife. However, the act of conveying these gender role expectations to her daughter at such a
young age, diminishes any personal desires or aspirations the daughter may possess. In today's
world, while societal expectations regarding gender roles have diminished to a considerable extent,
many cultures and traditions still hold onto these conventions. Many individuals, more specifically
children coming from households with strong cultures and traditions may find themselves relating to
this dialogue initiated by their parents, often leading to the suppression of their own unique
perspectives and ambitions.
This story is about a mother daughter relationship unlike any I have ever read before. It's definitely
filled with a lot of anger, which can be seen when there are no full stops in the story. There are only
semi-colons which I suppose can be used to show that it is a rant criticizing all the rules and roles
society has for women. I really liked reading this short story as it showed me a new perspective on
things. For example, we all know most things that are written there, I mean, on the inside. However,
it is quite another thing when someone you are meant to admire and love speaks such things in such
an insulting manner.
This story “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid has one theme that the story seems to be revolving
around. That theme would be trust, technically the lack of trust. All throughout the story you see the
mother overpowering the daughter and not really letting her make her own decisions. The mother
seems to be really involved in her daughter’s life, in a very controlling and toxic way. For example
when the mother is telling the daughter about mannerisms and how to act around people, she says:
“this is how to hem a dress when you see the hem coming down and so to prevent yourself from
looking like the slut I know you are so bent on becoming”. The mother does not seem to trust her
daughter to decide for herself. She thinks that her daughter will only make bad choices and needs to
be taught lessons through tough love as they are the way she will retain the information being given
to her. Everywhere in the story the mother commands her daughter to be ladylike socially
acceptable. I feel as though something that most children of immigrants can relate to is having
intense pressure to be liked by everyone and be deemed socially acceptable. The children of
immigrant parents tend to be raised differently than most the kids around them. An article by Mental
Health America states “to be the child of an immigrant is to carry the hopes and dreams of your
lineage”. All immigrant students can relate to that. The students feel pressure, from their parents, to
achieve things their parents could not. After reading this story, high school students might resonate
with the daughter in terms of having controlling parents and feeling pressure to be accepted by