Girl Questions and Answers
by Jamaica Kincaid

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How would you describe the style of Kincaid‘s writing? If you were mimicking her style, what would you need to do?

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Anu Varik eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The style most resembles a narrative technique called stream of consciousness, which aims to let the reader know not only the rational thoughts of a character but the subconscious ones as well. It's a method that originated in psychology but has come to be used in literature—for example, in the works of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. It's important to understand, however, that the majority of stream of consciousness fiction is partly edited to give the reader an impression of stream of consciousness, rather than the real thing.

The reasoning for this will become evident if you try, as the question proposes, to mimic Kincaid's style here. The real method produces large parts of completely meaningless, barely understandable gibberish. In fiction, stream of consciousness is often achieved by the author writing without pause, without a care for syntax and grammar. This way, the mind doesn't have the opportunity to correct and filter itself and can thus achieve the true narrative. Kincaid's "Girl" is definitely not completely authentic stream of consciousness. There are no grammatical errors, and the punctuation is fixed. There's a flow to it that makes the text read fast and uninterrupted, but there are no "um"s and other clutter of that sort. Therefore, to write as the author writes, you should try to write rapidly without editing yourself, but afterward take out everything that isn't roughly necessary to the work.

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