My Response to Girl

So i finally got through with reading “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid. Actually i had to read it several times. After my first read it came to me that a girl was living through her childhood or even her life with someone constantly telling her how to live it. After my first read i actually saw this as there being no clear cut protagonist, but the protagonist is every single girl that was raised like that. This was a short story that had meaning behind every sentence or maybe how every sentence can be viewed differently. For example to me it seems like the mother or whoever was the antagonist giving the girl these life lessons very clearly cared for the girl and probably just wanted to raise the girl similar to how they were raised. Yet I can see how all of these lessons are very limiting.

The lessons were all about saving face, to keep a proper image. One lesson the girl was taught was “don’t eat fruits on the streets – bugs will follow you”, this is just one example of how the lessons taught to the girl can be good yet limiting. On one hand the girl can avoid having flies following her around by not eating the fruit on the streets. On the other hand if she is hungry and wants to eat the fruit she would have to wait until she was inside to eat that fruit. Another piece of dialogue that was stated was “this is how you smile to someone you don’t like at all; this is how you smile to someone you like completely”.  Just like the other lesson this one is very similar in the way that its teaching how  to show facial expressions but yet maybe the girl isn’t like that. Maybe the girl shows kindness to those she loves differently and maybe she shows dislike to someone differently.

there were also some dialogue that were messed up in my opinion. When the Antagonist was telling the girl how to walk properly and not like the slut the antagonist believes the girl wants to be it was just very upsetting. Nowhere in the story does the girl say she wants to be a slut so to me its all assumption and i can relate a lot to being labeled off assumption. There were also some other assumptions that the antagonist had that made them feel like telling the girl to not do, like singing Benna in church. Unlike the previous statement the girl actually spoke out by saying she has never sang Benna especially not in Sunday School. This is a story that shows the lessons taught to girls that can be useful yet limiting as also damaging when its just based off assumption. I believe its good to teach kids lessons but it is also not good to set limitation unto ones self. One must also not assume that a kid wants to become something that is frowned upon in my opinion. One thing i do agree on is that the antagonist explained as to why the girl must do what she is being told because communication is key. For example the antagonist told the girl ” when buying cotton to make yourself a nice blouse, be sure that it
doesn’t have gum on it, because that way it won’t hold up well after a wash”, this is a great way to explain why the girl must do something in a certain way. Other than that though a lot of these lessons for girls can be very damaging and limiting, something i do not agree with.

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