In "Girl" we see a mother offering advice to her daughter. Asses how meaningful these ideas would be for today's young people.

1 Answer | Add Yours

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

“Girl” describes an old-fashioned description of womanhood.  Kincaid drew on her experiences growing up in Antigua for the setting and themes of "Girl," as she has done for the rest of her fiction … from the time Kincaid was born in 1949 until she left in 1966. (enotes, historical context).  This advice would not likely be useful to girls today:

Wash the white clothes on Monday and put them on the stone heap; wash the color clothes on Tuesday and put them on the clothesline to dry; don’t walk barehead in the hot sun...

Girls today don’t really need lessons in sewing or washing clothes on a clothesline.  Sweeping is still a useful skill, both for boys and girls.  Her advice on not being a slut, and causing an abortion, are a little outdated.

However, there is some advice that I think would be useful still.  For example, “always eat your food in such a way that it won’t turn someone else’s stomach” is still good advice.  Also, “you mustn’t speak to wharf-rat boys, not even to give directions” can still be important, although we all have the boys we need to stay away from.


We’ve answered 317,594 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question