Reading response to Girl

Girl by Jamaica Kincaid, is an interesting story, despite the lack of imagination used to write it. The protagonist in this story is a girl who is being told how to do things, how not to do them, and the things that are not supposed to be done. The protagonist is essentially being told how to live her life. The story can be said to have been based on how girls were always being told how to behave and what to do in the old days.

The protagonist in the story to me, is not a character, to me, the protagonist represents all the girls who are constantly being told how to do things and how to live their lives. The “person” who keeps telling the protagonist in this story how to live their lives, to me, represents society’s invisible and wicked hold on all the girls around it. The quotes “ don’t sing benna in Sunday school” and “ don’t eat fruits on the street ” are two great examples of how controlling that “person” is, in this case that “person” is to be considered the antagonist. These quotes can also be viewed as a direct reflection on certain rules for girls given by certain societies. “ don’t sing benna in Sunday school ” can be interpreted as a direct reflection of how girls are supposed to behave in public. “ don’t eat fruits on the street ” can also be interpreted as a direct reflection of what girls are not supposed to do in public.

I’ve noticed there were no mention that just like girls are being told how to live their lives, boys are also being told how to live theirs. Society also has a hold on boys, telling them how to behave, what to do and not do. The quote “ always eat your food in such a way that it won’t turn someone else’s stomach ” can be used to tell boys or girls how to chew their foods properly. The story is lacking diversity, because it is one sided, however, the story should not be evaluated based on its diversity of genders, because after all, the title of the story is Girl.

The girl representing all the girls being told what to do, and the “person” telling the girl what to do is societies hold on that girl, are simply my interpretations of the stories meaning. An alternate and simpler interpretation of the story is that the girl is the daughter of the person telling her how to live her life. The parents of the girl are telling her how to do things, giving her the necessary knowledge about how to behave in the society they are living in. Giving the girl instructions on how to become a good and productive member of society. In this interpretation, the parents would only be doing what they are supposed to do as parents.

There are several ways to understand and interpret the story, but the two most appealing and interesting ways of doing so, according to me, are the ways I’ve done it.

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