A Feminist Analysis of Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl”
To comprehend a story from a feminist perspective, it is crucial to grasp the multifaceted nature of feminist viewpoints. Various feminist perspectives employ diverse methods to scrutinize and decipher texts. One perspective asserts that gender is a “socially constructed” concept, while another contends that power is differentially distributed based on factors such as sex, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, ability, sexuality, and economic class status (South University Online, 2011, para. 1).
Jamaica Kincaid’s short story, “Girl,” provides an insightful glimpse into the expectations imposed on young girls entering adolescence in an era before the advent of feminist ideologies. In examining this work, we explore the literary techniques employed to depict the world through the eyes of a child and the world of an adolescent, often viewed with cynicism as “the folly of youth,” from an adolescent’s perspective (Pike & Acosta, 2011, p. 351).
The narrative of “Girl” presents a catalog of societal norms that once governed the role of women, particularly as caregivers. However, these norms are no longer relevant to the contemporary roles of women in our modern society. As the narrator aptly observes, “In American culture today, women have access to broader roles than those outlined by the narrator” (South University Online, 2011).
Jamaica Kincaid penned “Girl” in 1978 to shed light on the apprehensions of mothers who grappled with the idea of breaking free from traditional gender roles and the resulting strain it could exert on the mother-daughter relationship. The story serves as a poignant reminder of the historical expectations placed on women and the transformation of these roles in the face of feminist progress.
“Girl” commences with a list of commonplace tasks, such as laundry, which remains relevant even in the modern-day twenty-first century. The narrator instructs, “wash the white clothes on Monday and put them…”
Kincaid, J. (2011). Girl. In D. L. Pike and A. M. Acosta’s (Eds.) Literature: A World of Writing, Stories,…