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"Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid

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Stephanie Galea

on 8 April 2014

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Transcript of "Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid

Feminism
Story Structure
Long sentences
Little punctuation
Semi-colons
DiTomaso, O. 2014.
The Chant of the Mother
Mother Daughter Relationship
Group Thesis
The elements of fiction, specifically structure and tone, in "Girl" work together to establish the universal conflict between mothers and daughters and expose the limitations of women in Caribbean culture.
Tone
insistent, accusatory

Summary
A mother is listing rules, advice and expectations that her daughter must abide by in order to be a respected member of society
These commands and rules fluctuate between loving and accusatory
The only time the daughter responds to her mother's lecture is when she defends her innocence
"Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid
Mother's insistent and critical tone establishes conflict between mother and daughter
Mother: fluctuates between loving and accusatory
stems from fear of her daughter's reputation & image as a woman in society
Daughter: resentful of mother's admonishment
does not want to meet her mother's high expectations
Jamaica Kincaid
"What the mother in the story sees as aids to living in the world, the girl might see as extraordinary oppression, which is one of the things I came to see"
Tone
Conflict between mother and daughter are universal
Universality allows reader to relate to and emphasize with the daughter
Universal:
Expectations and criticisms exhibited by mother
Resent felt by daughter of her mother's accusations
Pressure felt by daughter to satisfy mother
Lack of desire felt by daughter to conform to mother's/society's expectations
Citations
Mother- controlling, bitter, critical
Daughter- timid, inattentive
Tone creates conflict between mother and daughter
DiTomaso, O. 2014.
The Chant of the Mother
The Rhythm of Reality in the Works of Jamaica Kincaid, Diane Simmons World Literature Today, Vol. 68, No. 3 (Summer, 1994), pp. 466-472 Published by: University of Oklahoma Article DOI: 10.2307/40150359 Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40150359
Simmons, Diane. "The Rhythm of Reality in the Works of Jamaica Kincaid." World Literature Today 68.3 (1994): 466. Print.

Domestic and social knowledge and a clean reputation are vital
Sexuality must be obscured and sexual desires must be repressed
Female power is limited; the only things women are in control of are their sexuality and image
The girl does not wish to conform to societal expectations
The mother is defeated in her attempt to transform her daughter into a respectable woman
Stereotypical expectations of females in Antigua
Kincaid refused to conform
Carol Bailey's Opinion
Draws a link between performance and gender
Gender roles are influenced by surrounding society/culture
Survival depends on appropriate performance of gender
Speaker is more concerned about external image than internal values
Aigotti, D. 2014. "Reputation: The Key to Acceptance"

Allan Vorda and Jamaica Kincaid. "An Interview with Jamaica Kincaid."
Mississippi Review
, Vol. 24 (1996): No. 3, pp 49-76.
Carribean Writing
. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.
Bailey, Carol. "Performance and the Gendered Body in Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl" and Oonya Kempadoo's Buxton Spice."
Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism
10.2 (2010): 106-123.
Project MUSE
. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.


DiTomaso, O. 2014. "The Chant of the Mother"

Galea, S. 2014. "The Trouble With Mother-Daughter Relationships".

Mother Daughter Relationship
Carol Bailey
"Instructions such as "On Sundays walk like a lady and not like the slut you are bent on becoming" and "This is how you behave in the presence of men you don't know" are unequivocal indicators of the speaker's understanding and acceptance of the society's ostensible expectations of women."
Expectations for all women, not just specific culture
Full transcript