For a long time mother/girl child relationship has been ragged as affirmative action movements has taken place. Huge populations of women have conventional assumptions about on what any female individual should do. In the short story “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid is a good depiction of this relation. The theme in this book revolves around the assumption that a woman is supposed to be domestic and therefore should act in a given manner.
Often, a high number of elderly women are of the opinion that female’s major role in the society is to be domesticated. The theme in the short story “Girl” emphasizes on this thought. This is further supported by third person suggestion that a woman’s place is home. “Clean the white clothes on Monday and put them on the stone heap; clean the color clothes on Tuesday and dry them on the clothesline.” (Kindcaid 296) This quote is an advice to the daughter on what she should do.
The mother goes on further to explain other chores that responsible women should perform and how do them in the right way. “This is how you sweep a corner.” (Kincaid, 296) She informs her daughter ways to set the table matching on different meals, best ways to cook and pick out bread. It is clear that the story does advise a woman on how to have a successful career, join a college or university, or the way to work away from home. This book was written in 1978, during this time a lot of movements to liberate women were taking place. This offers a good opportunity for its interpretation. During this time, a high number of girls were now informed and acted against their mothers. Girls started to work out homes. In the story, the little girl creates bitterness on her mother because she feels that she is now old enough and should be allowed to make her own decisions regarding the domestication. This creates a very crucial point of view in the story “Girl” . The mother highlighting these issues does not stop being attentive on her daughter’s opinion. The mothers’ opinion and sentiments are final. She tells her daughter that she should be domestic women and that she should not object that. To characterize this story is also very vital to the understanding of the theme. It promotes the assumption held by elderly women that any woman’s position in the society is the home.
High number of women in the society has a feeling that all females should act in a specific manner. This assumption is repeated and supported in this story. The mother directs her daughter how to do, the way to dress and even talk. “Always eat yours food in a way that it won’t turn someone else stomach.” (Kincaid, 296) All females should not be instructed on how to eat. This means they should be left to make their own choices. “On Sundays make an attempt to march like a woman and not like the slut that you are so bent on be.” (Kincaid, 296) The daughter’s mother stresses that woman’s walking style tells about her sexual accounts. This further emphasizes that a woman should act in a given manner so that she is not judged. Therefore, this brings out the major theme of the story. “This is how to behave in the presence of men who don’t know you very well.” (Kincaid, 296) From the story is evident that a woman is anticipated to act in a specific manner.
Short story “Girl” depicts a sad mother/daughter relationship and challenges girls experienced when they moved into the society. A lot of aspects of the literature bring out this in the story. However, the theme is a complete demonstration of assumptions held by elder women in the society that there is acceptable and unacceptable manner to be as a woman.
Kincaid, Jamaica. “Girl.” Literature and its Writers: A Compact Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 3rd ed. Ed. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004. 396-397