Essay on 'Girl' by Jamaica Kincaid Meaning

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Adulthood is a poisonous word that most people don't want to hear or experience. Like a venomous snake, the bite is as deadly as it is. When we were young, we wanted to grow faster so we to reach our dreams and experience what adults could experience; but when we grow up and face the reality of our world, we just want to be a child again, free and at peace. This scenario is similar to Jamaica Kincaid's poem entitled 'Girl' wherein it talks about between innocence and the entrance to adulthood. Throughout the journey of the daughter in entering the entrance of adulthood, her mother trains her how to act like a respectable and ideal lady. The mother is convinced that her own daughter is lost on her way to the entrance of adulthood so she decides to guide her.

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The fact that the mother knows what to teach her daughter says all of the mother's attitude. She is knowledgeable about the domestic code of conduct that she now shares with her daughter. She is also considerate and knows how to co-exist with people around her. The way the mother narrates the poem suggests her compassionate personality. She cares so much about her daughter so she constantly warns her not to be careless about her sexuality. Whenever her daughter acts like a slut as she says, 'So prevent yourself from looking like the slut I know you are so bent on becoming,' her mother always warns her and constantly checks on her daughter. However, the more the mother contradicts her daughter, the more the daughter's freedom is being neglected. It seems like the mother literally took her daughter's own freedom of speech which caused the daughter not to speak her own opinion about herself. The mother constantly teaches her daughter to be more domesticated without asking her if she really wants to be one.

Moreover, the fact that the woman does not give her own daughter's freedom, also makes her feel suffocating from her mother's rules. She should be like this, like that, no you can't be like that, and so on. Yes, the mother takes the time to guide her own daughter, however, she guides her using the wrong way to do so. The expectation is so high and the pressure increases. Furthermore, the ironic part of the poem is the fact that the mother constantly gives her daughter instructions without knowing how experience really is a good teacher. She forbids her daughter to do numerous things that might also forbid her to complete and find her own identity. Remember, if you enter the door of adulthood, you should not forbid yourself to try everything and anything new. These might be the best way to teach yourself, it is to experience and to learn from these.

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Essay on ‘Girl’ by Jamaica Kincaid Meaning. (2023, December 13). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from
“Essay on ‘Girl’ by Jamaica Kincaid Meaning.” Edubirdie, 13 Dec. 2023,
Essay on ‘Girl’ by Jamaica Kincaid Meaning. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 Apr. 2024].
Essay on ‘Girl’ by Jamaica Kincaid Meaning [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Dec 13 [cited 2024 Apr 18]. Available from:

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