In the story written by Jamaica Kincaid, "Girl," what is the relationship between the individual and society?

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In this story, the mother is giving her daughter a litany of advice and commands on how to be a proper lady. The daughter is presumably an adolescent, a young girl moving into adulthood. The mother wants her daughter to follow this list of rules which adhere to a traditional female role and this includes becoming a wife who is subservient to her husband. 

The mother gives advice on cooking, cleaning, and ironing. She tells her daughter how to smile in certain situations. She warns her not to become a slut. She tells her how to love a man. She gives advice that reflects her Caribbean culture but gives more that reflects her Christian beliefs. She goes on and on. In the end, even though the daughter protests twice, the mother just keeps spewing out this advice. The run-one sentence, stream of consciousness style of this story emphasizes how the daughter is bombarded by these strict rules of how to be a lady.

Kincaid is showing how young girls are brainwashed by society but in this story, the brainwashing is coming from the mother. And the role she prescribes for her daughter is very traditional and leaves little room for her (daughter) to be free and experimental. The daughter, in her struggle to grow and develop as a free individual, is faced with this onslaught of directions from her mother.

The reader can see how the daughter, and any young woman, will face similar directions and brainwashing from all parts of society: media, magazines, television, and so on. And if these institutions are still largely patriarchal (run by traditional, reactionary men), they will perpetuate the idea that women have this limited, subservient role. The story gives a verbal display of how young women are encouraged and/or forced into limited roles, censoring the way they should think, move, act, look, etc. 

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