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Girl by Jamaica Kincaid

            Researchers find that female wading birds kill their offspring as a cause of social and/or environmental necessity. Every single day, thousands of women around the world force death upon the freedom of their daughters as a cause of social and/or environmental necessity. Feminist writer, Jamaica Kincaid, puts the mother-daughter relationship under a microscope in her prose poem "Girl"-- she examines the societal pressure, deep rooted prejudice, and double standard, which force a mother to cut the corners of her daughter's being as she shapes her way into womanhood. The never ending duties of being a "proper woman", slut-shaming, and misdirected nurturance in "Girl" depict the suffering that arrives rudely, and unwelcomed, in a girl's coming of age. .
             The syntactic structure of "Girl", composed of rough imperatives from the mother, creates a dutifully unforgiving attitude towards the daughter -- the cause of this strictness reveals itself to be the tension, and pressure, felt by the mother to make her successor acceptable and "proper". She promptly explains the need for her daughter to do things and act in certain ways so that others will not judge her. She warns her of "looking like a slut" or "singing bena [a scandalous song] at sunday school" or "drinking tea in a way that turns someone else's stomach." This reveals a society in which women are expected to strip themselves of any free will, and submerge into an eternal submissiveness. Thus indicating that a woman's reputation or respectability determines the quality of her life in the community. The mother, therefore, stresses the importance of such ideals to save her daughter from a life of disrespect. However, the daughter does not comprehend this as she is much younger, and therefore unaware of the fact that her mother is looking out for her. The daughter attempts to interject and defend herself: she argues "I don't sing Bena" but she is ignored and overpowered by her mother's hasty commands.

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