“Girl”entails sentiments of a mother advising her daughter on how to becomean Antiguan woman. It has no traditional plot, characterdescriptions, setting, or action. Instead, it only has two voices.From the story, the author strived to demonstrate the issues entailedin mother-daughter relationships, adolescent sexuality, femininitycontradictions, the legacy of colonialism, and life under patriarchy.All these are entailed in the short piece, hence illustrating themastery of the writer. As such, this paper will analyze the story interms of the themes, symbolism, style, and mood.
Symbolismis a stylistic device that entails using real objects to depictabstract ideas. In this story, it is utilized in items like marbles,Benna, and trunk that strive to evoke the reader to comprehend theimportance of the apparent human situations. The trunk as used inthis tale characterizes the self. As a young kid, the girl wouldpursue her mother’s trunk which would later define her own self. Asdepicted by the log, it seemed to possess all the family history thatwould assist her to create her own. Trunks are usually utilized forputting old individual effects. As such, traversing through anindividual’s trunk results in the revelation of history that tellsone’s personality.
Symbolismis also illustrated through the two marbles one which is white withblue to symbolize the ocean and another that is white with yellowishbrown to typify landmasses. A new marble symbolizing the new world,which she wanted to fashion for herself. Benna, as utilized in thisstory, express sexuality. In the Antiguan folk songs, Bennacharacterized sexuality. They were used in this culture to passscandalous gossips and rumors.
Themost prominent themes in this story are female sexuality and thepower of domesticity. The danger of women’s sexuality isillustrated by the mother’s fears of her daughter’s behavior, yetshe was not yet an adolescent. As per her beliefs, a woman’srespectability and reputation define her life within the community.The mother continuously emphasizes on this theme by even telling thedaughter she is “not a boy,” hence it is important to behave in amanner that earns her respect in the community. The mother alsobelieves in domesticity as a means of saving her daughter from theruins of promiscuity. By being knowledgeable on household matters,her, the daughter would be productive to the society [CITATION Jam78 p 28 l 1033 ].
Thework “girl” is depictive of a prose poem. This is a form thatillustrates what occurs in the ordinary life of people. It is writtenin paragraphs, but reads like a poem with a focus on rhythm andlanguage. The wordings are rhythmic and repetitive and can beevidenced when reading aloud. For instance, “this is how to sew ona button this is how to make a buttonhole for the button you havejust sewed on” the words “this is how” are repetitivethroughout the poem in a rhythmic manner. Though the mood is somber,the mother seems worried that her daughter may be lost. The motherappears to be commanding and authoritative while the daughter isdefensive and insecure. “Be sure to wash every day, even if it iswith your own spit.” It is an imperative mood to give orders to thedaughter. On the other hand, the girl appears to be insecure replyingon one instance, “but what if the baker won’t let me feel thebread?”
Inconclusion, this writing has several elements of literaryinstruments. The main aim of the mother is to ensure the daughterlives a reputable life within the society. As such, she draws onseveral themes that emphasize on the same.
Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." 26 June 1978. The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1978/06/26/girl. 16 January 2017.