"Girl" Jamaica Kincaid Response
A Mother’s Words A mother’s words are the ones that ring loudest in a child’s ear, are passed down from generation to generation, and the one’s that hold a special place in a child’s memory and heart forever. Expectations and guidelines are set at a young age. Morals and values are learned throughout the years, and life lessons are taught through the wisdom passed down from a mother to a daughter. Every mother has a wish for their daughter to be the best they can be. But at what point does instruction and wisdom become simply words that have been said one too many times? The short story “Girl,” written by Jamaica Kincaid is presented to the reader as a list of instructions from a mother to a daughter on how to live life to the
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Every time in the story the word “slut” is used it is used in the same context but with a different variation of words. The different variations go in a sequence of the daughter wanting to be a “slut,” to her mother knowing she is a “slut,” and her mom warning her not to become a “slut” (200-201). Her daughter, we can tell from many hints in the story, seems to be young and confused as to why her mother is speaking to her in the manner she is. She does not understand that her mother is trying to make her see that her actions recently are scaring her mother into thinking her daughter is going down the wrong path in life. The jumping around of words and the confusion of the daughter makes it seem as though the word “slut” is simply being used as an accusation –whether or not the daughter deserves to be called a slut we do not know. However, the mother does not seem to fully believe the statement either. Her fear is of her daughter becoming just another girl that does not respect herself and her body makes her read into her daughter’s motives and actions even at a young age. The mother is trying to be what make her daughter become the perfect, unflawed girl that she believes she should be.
The mother drills and drills into her daughter’s head what she must not become and basically lists what the ideal “girl” would be. It seems as