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Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl": A Uniquely Crafted Look At A Woman's Place

            Jamaica Kincaid's short story, "Girl" is unique in that while it clearly lacks a precise plot, it delivers a message as clearly as more traditionally crafted pieces of fiction. The story borders on being a monologue on the part of the mother as she dictates to her daughter her expected roles in life. There is no room for discussion as the mother rambles incessantly of the things expected of her daughter, most likely because the mother believes there is no room for discussion as to a woman's place in society. Through strict limitations of style, tone, and point of view, Jamaica Kincaid delivers a somber story of the relationship between a mother and a daughter and the relationship of women and the society that engulfs them.
             It may be true that a clear plot is necessary for the development of a story and the development of the characters involved in the story. But sometimes, as evidenced in "Girl", a plot itself is expendable. The mother is the speaker for the majority of the story, with the daughter interrupting for a brief two sentences. The mother's laundry list of expectations and instructions stops only to allow the story to end. In this way, Kincaid makes it evident that the mother is dominant and that there is no room for conversation; what the mother has to say is all that needs to be heard. The mother's long rant also leaves no room for the development of setting or of characters. This rather significant deviation from the formulaic, traditional style of storytelling where a plot is most always included does little to make "Girl's" theme less paramount. In fact, it could be argued that the lack of plot makes "Girl" and its theme more poignant.
             The fact that both the mother and the daughter in Kincaid's story lack any real definition or individuality that we know of furthers the notion that the meaning of this story extends beyond the motherly expectations of a daughter. We are given no descriptions, physical or otherwise, of either of the two characters.

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