Jamaica Kincaid wrote "Girl" in 1978. "Girl" is a story about a young female, a girl, getting advice from an older woman in a long single sentence narrative. Semicolons are used to separate advice but then at times the advice is repeated to add emphasis. The main theme in "Girl" is the dangers of female sexuality. The presumed dangers of female sexuality are seen across cultures and are even ingrained by women themselves. .
The older character imparts advice and scolds the young girl repeatedly. The older woman scolds her for how she walks, how she play marbles, and how she talks to other people. It's almost like she wants her daughter to realize that she is not a boy and never will be. She is essentially saying that a boy's life has more value than hers, and they can get away with acting a certain way. Gender inequality is at the backdrop of this story. Gender inequality happens in all cultures. Some cultures use mutilation, while others have a glass ceiling. The older woman is trying to get her daughter to come to terms with this situation of being a girl in their culture. .
Looking at this story in a different way, imagine that the genders were reversed, and that this is a story about a father teaching his son about his place in the world. He would teach his son about household duties and slut shame him the entire time. The story would be almost preposterous. This fact further amplifies the power and truth of Kincaid's story. .
The passage in the story that stood out the most to me was "This is how you smile to someone you don't like to much; this is how you smile to someone you don't like at all." It implies that no matter what you feel you put a smile on your face and repress it. This is the beginning of female repression. A girl is supposed to like everyone. A girl is supposed to smile and be happy. In my opinion, a girl isn't supposed to be anything other that who she is.