How to act like a girl (Reading Response #1)

I would like to respond to the Story titled Girl by Jamaica Kincaid. Girl Seems to be about  rules and restictions  that a young lady must follow in order to be the type of woman that is expected of her, and for the purpose of writing this blog, I am going to call the person talking to the girl, her mother. Although, it does not clearly states who is talking to the girl, I am assuming since this person is telling the girl what to and not to do is someone who wants to make sure that the girl will know what behavior is expected of her at all times of her life. Mothers are usually the ones to teach their daughters all the things that they think their daughters need to know.

The story start off by telling the young girl, and I am assuming that the protagonist is a young girl because of the title, how to wash clothes and which day to wash which type of clothes on. Then it just goes on a to a series of rules. I can visualize this young girl just standing there and observing as much as she can all of the things that is being told to her. I can see her trying to understand why it is important to remember all of what is being said. I can also see that her mother who is talking to her is not listening to her. When her mother asked her “is it true that you sing benna in Sunday school?” she doesn’t wait for a answer. She just keep telling her rules to follow. Then a few lines down the mother says “don’t sing benna in Sunday school. Yet again the mother is not waiting for her child to answer she just tells her not to. Had she waited for her child to answer she would have found out that the girl don’t sing Benna in Sunday school. ” but I don’t sing benna on Sundays at all and never in Sunday school.”

The mother tells the girl all of these rules and restrictions, but yet still feels like the girl is going to become a slut. She said this after she tell the girl to “walk like a lady and not like the slut you are so bent on becoming.” The mother have said something like this three different times in the story. To me, that sentence about becoming a slut touched my nerve the most. I loved it for the story, but that sentence hit close to home because in the real world, the words slut and hoe are intertwined and is so easily to become, for example, if a young man wants to talk to young lady and the lady may not want to talk the young man, but say that same young man sees this lady talking to a acquaintance of his and he is still sore about her passing up on him then he may decide to try to ruin her reputation by going to the gentleman that she were talking to and tell him that she is a slut and may even add the lie on how he had interactions with her. Then there you have it she is a slut. “That you are so bent on becoming”

I see this all the time. How we have so many rules and restrictions on how to act like in the story ” don’t squat down to play marbles-you are not a boy”  and how to mask our feeling and how we are not free to express them. We should only smile. “This is how you smile to someone you don’t like at all”  In this story the girl has no say. She is mostly listening. Like I had mention earlier even when she did say something it wasn’t acknowledged. She is being told everything, except the one thing that matters the most and that is, her being herself.

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