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Girl by Jamaica Kincaid Plot and Analysis

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Every day, tons of children especially teenage females endure the domineering parental nature due to the stereotypes imposed by society. The injustices, prejudices, and discriminations against particular sex have played a significant role in teens abandoning their families and societies; when given an opportunity. Jamaica Kincaid and the young daughter from her short story Girl by Jamaica Kincaid are ideal examples of teen girls being targeted due to the specific gender roles developed in the communities. 

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Approaching to Kincaid’s Girl through a historical/biographical lens, it is evident that the daughter represents the author in her adolescence. As the dictatorial and oppressive parenting style of Kincaid’s mother, after she had three sons in quick succession is similar to the harsh and autocratic mother to daughter relationship from the short story Girl. Besides that, both Kincaid and the girl were challenged by the unjust and prejudicial treatments caused by the different societal roles that boys and girls adhere to. Thus, the dictatorial parenting and unjust gender roles imposed by society indicate how the experiences of the author are reflected in the main protagonist from the piece Girl.

First of all, the domineering mother to daughter relationship is apparent in both the author’s life, as well as the life of the girl in her short story. As, at the age of nine; a sudden change came into Kincaid’s life with the subsequent births of her three brothers. This changed her relationship with her mother drastically. Her mother’s love had been severely diminished and she had been inexplicably rejected and cast out. For instance, she was an intelligent student and also won a scholarship to a school affiliated under the British system of education. Unfortunately, her mother forced her to withdraw from school to support the family and to take care of her ill stepfather. It appears that Kincaid’s mother does not think about the social aspect of her daughter’s life. According to this, the bossy parenting can lead to resentful effects within the familial relationships. Correspondingly, authoritative parenting is illustrated in the entire Kincaid’s story Girl. The short story substantially consists of the mother’s outlook. It is conspicuous that the mother is talking about things that she thinks are beneficial. It is clearly illustrated that the mother is not willing to accustom the standpoint of the girl. For instance, mother says, ‘don’t sing benna in Sunday school;’ and in response, the daughter’s thinking is shown as ‘but I don’t sing benna on Sundays at all and never in Sunday school;’ (Kincaid) This illustrates how the mother is not even taking the account of the possibility that the girl does not engage in with benna in Sunday school. Thus, in this regard, the imperious nature of the mother is clearly perceptible.

Other than the despotic and repressive parenting, both Kincaid and the girl from her short story are impeached by the unjust gender roles and stereotypes imposed by society. These separate gender roles have driven families apart from each other. As in Kincaid’s case, she was forced to support the family when her family was going through hard times; while her brothers were encouraged to attend school and universities to study further. 

As well as, she was sent to the United States to work as an ‘au pair’ for a wealthy family with an expectation that she will send her earned money back home to her family. However, instead of sending money back home, the rebellious Kincaid distanced herself from her family. After self-exiling herself in America, she shaped her new life away from the misery and discomfort she had felt in Antigua. For this reason, inflicting different societal roles based on sex can lead to differences within a family. 

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