Analysis of Jamaica Kincaid's “Girl”

Categories: Girl

The short story 'Girl' as written by Jamaica Kincaid, is an exciting and captivating piece that depicts several elements from literature and a reflection of various aspects of society. Most of the story is told in the second person containing a conversation between a mother and daughter; the conversation is about how the daughter should behave, how to go about doing her daily tasks, and her life. The dialogue as it flows depicts several items perceived as a how-to-do list and to-do list.

The narrative structure, the characters, the use of literary devices, and the use of poetic qualities have all been utilized in the development and articulation of this parent to child relationship story.

The narrative structure for the short story shows depicts the struggle that happens between a child and a mother. The development of the story depicts a struggle between mother and daughter; the mother is depicted as teaching the daughter how to be an honorable and perfect woman in the society and as the plot develops; the mother gets demanding.

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When the daughter raises concern about the mother's remarks, her mother retorts it to a snapback situation. According to Rabea et al., (3) the mother tells the daughter not to walk bare in the hot sun and also the mother shows the daughter how to sew a button and also how to make a button-hole for the button that has been sewed on.

The characters in the short story include the mother and the daughter. The mother is the main speaker of the story.

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She is depicted as giving out a long string of advice to the daughter I teaching her of ways of running a household, living respectably and honorably. The mother is seen scolding the daughter within her wisdom words over issues of promiscuity, which shows she cares deeply about the daughter's wellbeing. The daughter is depicted as listening to her mother's speech and only makes replies twice with regards to remarks and concerns made. According to Rabea et al., (3) the mother is depicted telling the daughter of how to love a man and even showing the daughter how to set the table for tea, breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Repetition of a poetic quality has been depicted in the story 'Girl' several. The various elements used in the literature piece depicting poetic qualities include line breaks and capital letters added in writing, making it look like a poem, repetition has been used a lot as a poetic device. With repetition a rhetorical device; is commonly used in both poetry and prose, and it stands for the repetition of the same phrases or words in a bid to clarify a specific idea or on another note to create emphasis on a specific point. On several occasions in the story, the phrase 'this is how' has been used to begin a sentence on expressing a particular way of performing a specific task by the mother (Rabea et al., 3). The word 'don't' has also been used severally as the mother expresses particular aspects she disapproves or does not want the daughter to do the specific acts. The word creates a memorable pressing rhythm in the storyline, and also it shows the tension that is entrenched in the conversation. The mother tells the daughter not to walk bare in the hot sun and not to squat down and play marbles in the conversation (Rabea et al., 3).

The story depicts the literature device tone. There are two tones depicted in the story, which include an authoritative and defensive one. The mother is depicted on several occasions being authoritative to the way she expresses herself to the daughter. The mother tells the daughter not to squat down to play marbles as she is not a boy on an instance as the story develops (Rabea et al., 3). The daughter is depicted as defensive as she tries to defend herself from her mother’s accusations like singing benna on Sundays. She refutes such allegation even though the mother does not seem to notice she goes on with the conversation. On the story plot development, the daughter denies allegations by claiming she does not sing benna on Sundays at all, not even in Sunday school (Rabea et al., 3).


The story ‘Girl’ by Jamaica Kincaid is a perfect and well-presented piece of literature. It has employed several literature styles, and devices in a bid to make the story interesting, captivating and well-articulated in expressing the literature aspect Kincaid wanted to pass of a mother to daughter relationship. The narrative structure, the characters, the literary elements, and devices like tone and repetition, a poetic quality have all been used to enhance and develop the expression and articulation of this parent to child relationship literary piece.

Works Cited

Rabea, Reem Ahmad, and Nusaiba Adel Almahameed. "Genre Crossing in Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl’: From Short Fiction to Poetry." Advances in Language and Literary Studies 9.3 (2018): 157-165.

Updated: Nov 21, 2022
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Analysis of Jamaica Kincaid's “Girl”. (2020, Sep 09). Retrieved from

Analysis of Jamaica Kincaid's “Girl” essay
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