Explain if you find the mother to be a sympathetic character.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think that the mother in Kincaid's story is a particularly sympathetic figure.  It becomes clear that she is an individual that is concerned with the reality around her.  She seems determined to ensure that her daughter is deemed "acceptable" by this structure.  Yet, it is here where I think that she is not particularly sympathetic in the first place.  It seems to me that the mother is so driven to replicate a social condition that silences voice and does not validate authenticity that she loses sympathy.  The constant sexual references to her daughter as a "slut" or woman of loose virtue would be another reason where I could not find her to be terribly sympathetic.  Even if one were to argue that the mother is a victim to the system that silences voices and thus her voice is already silenced, I lose empathy for her to an extent because she seems to be repeating and replicating this same system with her child.  She does not recognize her own role in this complicity and for this, I think that some level of sympathy is lost in my mind regarding the mother in Kincaid's story.

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