Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” paints a picture of how most of society continues to set higher expectations for women. In the passage, the writer, through the voice of another person, details different things that a woman needs to do to gain a favorable reputation in the society. On close examination, these things fail to satisfy any logic that links them to a person’s character. For instance, the writer writes, “this is how you hem a dress when you see the hem coming down…and so prevent yourself from looking like a slut…”In all objectivity, the way a person hems a dress does not in any way bear a relationship with how he or she acts.
The scene described above exhibits a tone that is consistent within the whole passage. First, the writer gives away the intended audience for this “advice” as a female audience. Moreover, the tone and voice used in the passage give more affirmation that it is a work of fiction. The latter is achieved through the open nature of the advice that is usually hidden using metaphors. To the overall theme, the scene bears significance because it unambiguously shows the wrong view of some of society’s perceptions of small actions that should not have a bearing in judging a person’s character.
Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” is a reflection on what it is like being a woman. The illustrations given in the book continuously depict the unfairness in societal expectations that women are subjected to when they are growing up. Moreover, the narration can create vivid pictures in the mind of a reader and, therefore, a reader can empathize to the plight of individuals who undergo the same treatment. Consequently, it would be accurate to say that the author met her goals when she wrote this work of fiction.