Jamaica Kincaid American Literature Analysis
The power of Kincaid’s work seems to rise equally from her themes of family relationships and alienation, her use of detail to create exotic settings, and her anger, which is aimed at the world that has betrayed her—that is, at her family (especially her mother) and at the affluent white world, which generally treats people of developing nations with the same callous disregard that Great Britain brought to bear on Antigua during its rule of the island.
Family relationships are central to Kincaid’s work. In “Girl,” a story created from one two-page sentence, Kincaid nevertheless manages to evoke the tensions between a young woman and her mother. As the mother instructs the daughter in every level of “right” behavior for a young woman, she is interrupted only twice, and then only briefly, by the protesting daughter.
The tensions of “Girl” are expanded into a major plot element in Annie John, a brief novel that begins by describing a child who finds herself in the emotional paradise created by her loving relationship with her mother. Inexplicably, their devotion begins to crumble. No reason is given, and the reader is left to imagine the source of the trouble. Perhaps the mother is distracted by her relationship with her husband. Perhaps it is the inevitable result of Annie John’s approaching adolescence and of her simultaneous intellectual and sexual awakening. At the end of the novel, as Annie John leaves her...
(The entire section is 3973 words.)
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