Alvin KelmendiMs.

StillmanWP Band 113 January 2018The Mother and Daughter Connection:  An Argument Against How To Appropriate A Woman.”No one else is free while others are oppressed,” stated Martin L. King.  In our current day and throughout the course of time women oppression has been a real issue.  By being oppressed you are denied the human right to being equal.  When expectations of people occur in life that is when stereotypes begin to reveal.  Through people like Susan B. Anthony a movement began to bring an end to these injustices.

  Her movement was strictly for the fight against political turmoil, aiding in the belief that men and women should act and work as equals.  A mother’s words are the words that ring the loudest bell in a child’s ear and are really passed down from generation to generation, invoking the deepest impact to a child’s memory and mindset.  From an early age, a mother sets the guidelines and expectations for their children to follow and throughout the year’s proper morals and behavior are practiced.  However, from this relationship, there is no other like the prudence between a mother and daughter.  In the story, “Girl,” by Jamaica Kincaid, these ideas of women injustices are expressed within the text and there is a line drawn between prudence and dictation of direction.  The short story presents the reader with a long list of direction from a mother to daughter on how to live life till its fullest and that’s by following the expectations of women through the mother’s point of view.  Through the supported mother and daughter relationship, the mother really represents how culture appropriates a young girl, and also that the teachings of a woman are passed down from generation to generation.

  One factor which aids in the idea of how serving a man is introduced in this story is through the story’s structure and punctuation which include semicolons and a long list of direction.  After the mother laid down the expectations for her daughter about women’s household chores, she began to teach her daughter how to correctly appropriate the desires of men, as she first mentioned “this is how you iron your father’s khaki shirt so that it doesn’t have a crease; this is how you iron your father’s khaki pants so that they don’t have a crease”(Kincaid).  This text sample shows that through the mother’s teaching to Kincaid, it is clearly evident that women are obliged to do the duties and desires of men and in this form, it is through making sure that they look presentable through their attire.  As the structuring of this sentence incorporates semicolons and direct objections, the structure is supportive of direction that is insured to be followed by the daughter.  These pieces of evidence link back to the idea of how this story introduces the response to women’s injustices on daughters that will be passed down from generation to generation.  The women injustices that the text introduces, molded the mindset that will be later enforced from these injustices onto their daughters and that the story’s sentence structure provokes the passing of these teachings.

  Furthermore, another important factor towards this established mother-daughter relationship is the interior monologue in which the text produces and how the daughter is internalizing the direction given to her by the mother. Through Kincaid alternating to her response towards her mother’s enforcements within her own interior monologue, it shows that her mother believes that through her teachings Kincaid will be a well-appropriated daughter in correspondence to her beliefs:  “but what if the baker won’t let me feel the bread?; you mean to say that after all, you are really going to be the kind of woman who the baker won’t let near the bread”(Kincaid)?  This text sample shows that Kincaid’s mother believes that her teachings should correctly appropriate her daughter and she believes that if she sustains obedience to her teachings that she will achieve this belief.  This particular section of the text is a metaphor to the story as the mother interprets the baker’s rejection towards allowing her daughter to touch the bread as a sign that the daughter has become a slut which she intends on not happening.

  The mother also interprets this refusal as a way that the daughter was stubborn towards her direction and that she wasn’t appropriated to be “ladylike” as the story suggest.  Additionally, the use of constant pausing followed by the mother subjection shows that the interior monologue is juxtaposed into the story “Girl,” in order to show the daughters internalizing this direction.  Through Kincaid’s mother’s high belief that her teachings would appropriate her daughter, she now believes that her daughter is ready for dealing with reality and upholding the desires of a man.  It also exposes Kincaid’s true expression of emotion based on her mother’s teachings showing her reaction towards them.  Additionally, the limited choices in life introduced to the daughter in this relationship shows that the daughter is situated in a position where she is subjected towards the direction in which her mother forces.  Kincaid’s mother strictly enforced her daughter to act in an appropriate manner, especially in the presence of men as she believed that was one of the most fitting qualities of a woman within society.  She told her daughter that “this is how to behave in the presence of men who don’t know you very well”(Kincaid).  This text sample is really subjective towards the bias that women have to behave in a special way in order to be in the presence of men which really exposes the deep injustice served on women during that time.

  The idea that injustice was served to women and how they experienced such inequalities, Kincaid’s mother had to make sure to account for them and appropriate her daughter accordingly.  It also ensures that the daughter doesn’t have much choice and is subjected to this cruelty and injustice as she is the inferior subject towards the mother-daughter relationship.  This assurance by her mother shows that she wanted the best for her daughter despite accounting for all the injustices that women had to conform to.  The reason why she laid out these strict directions was so she could appropriate her daughter for the culture that society deemed.     Through the strong mother and daughter relationship, Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” illustrates the injustices of women that are passed down generations and beyond.  Mothers roles are especially important in expressing the injustices that women conform to.  Mothers are also the citadel of the mother-daughter relationship that will illustrate the injustices that will be passed down for generations.

  Through the main concepts of the story “Girl” such as serving a man through the long list of direction, the way that the daughter is internalizing the direction imposed by her mother in her interior monologue, and also the limited choices in life which leaves the girl subjected to this direction, “Girl” illustrates the injustices that women go through which are passed down generations and beyond.  


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