One of the most important aspects of analyzing literature is the ability to make assumptions, come to conclusions, and the ability to read between the lines. In Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl,” what does audience know about these two characters that is not specifically stated in the story?

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It seems as if these two characters are an older woman who is in some position of authority, and a young girl who is supposed to take instruction or direction from her. Perhaps it is a discussion between a mother and daughter or grandmother and granddaughter. The older woman who...

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It seems as if these two characters are an older woman who is in some position of authority, and a young girl who is supposed to take instruction or direction from her. Perhaps it is a discussion between a mother and daughter or grandmother and granddaughter. The older woman who gives the instructions references "benna" music and says that the young girl ought not to sing benna in Sunday school. Benna is a type of folk music that originated in Antigua and Barbuda. It often contains sexually suggestive lyrics, making it inappropriate to sing on Sunday when people might be going to worship services. Therefore, we learn that these individuals are likely inhabitants of either Antigua or Barbuda.

It does not seem as though the two characters come from wealthy or affluent families, as the women have to do all of the more labor-intensive, domestic jobs—cooking, cleaning, laundry, caring for the men, and so on—themselves. It also seems as though there are very strictly defined gender roles in their community. There are clear indicators of what women and men are supposed to do. The older woman certainly emphasizes that the younger one should behave in a "ladylike" way and avoid behaviors that might give her a reputation as a "slut." The older woman is concerned for the young girl's reputation and does not want her to grow up to be a certain kind of woman.

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