The story is ironic because Jamaica Kincaid writes from a mother's perspective giving her daughter information on how she is to live her life. The daughter rejects the information as being too confining and is determined to act rebellious.
Kincaid, from the Caribbean Island of Antigua, had a very conflictual relationship with her mother. She left the island at age 17 partly to escape her mother and the lifestyle.
The author writes a story about a mother who imposes on her daughter ideas that seem old fashioned and restricting.
"The mother is a woman in Antigua who understands a woman's "place." She lives in a culture that looks to both Christianity and obeah, an African-based religion, and that holds women in a position of subservience to men. She recites a catalog of advice and warnings to help her daughter learn all a woman should know. "