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Short Story Month, Day 5: Jamaica Kincaid


Photo of author Jamaica Kincaid.
Jamaica Kincaid

"Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid

Two days ago, I mentioned that "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien utilizes lists to show burden. For that purpose (at least in fiction), I much prefer "Girl," another classic story in which a girl is given a series of instructions and commands and insults from an older woman, presumably her mother. Instead of the burden of war, however, we see instead the burden of womanhood and how systemic patriarchy and misogyny seeps into the way women see themselves and their daughters. Not everything in here is negative, and there's definitely moments of female strength within it that remind me of my own mother and her own critical eye as she tries, even today, sees me through her ideas of womanhood rather than my own.

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