What is the background of the story "Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid?

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Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl" has been alternately categorized as a dramatic monologue, a short story, and even as a poem. It consists of advice from a mother to her daughter—a girl on the verge of womanhood—about how to conduct herself, mainly on sexual matters, with which she seems to be obsessed (and in which, she suggests, the girl has transgressed already). Kincaid has said that she heard her mother's voice in her head continually when writing the story. She had a difficult relationship with her mother and moved to the United States in part to escape from her.

The overbearing mother of the story sees herself as passing on the wisdom of generations of Caribbean women, initiating her daughter into womanhood, as she was initiated by her mother. The advice she gives, however, is obviously rooted so firmly in her culture and her generation that, although there is no response in the text, any reader of Kincaid can readily imagine how acerbic the girl's reply would be.

The background to a...

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