My Mother by Jamaica Kincaid is a difficult short story to follow and understand due to its unusual style. Kincaid wants readers to be reflective and so her story flows from the inside out. My Mother is one of a collection of short stories from At The Bottom of the River.
The story traces the connection between a mother and her daughter (who is the narrator). The daughter is often conflicted, having a complicated relationship with her mother with whom she often tries to compete but can never outshine. The story begins with the daughter wishing her mother dead which thought she regrets almost instantly.
Although the daughter recognizes her own growing confidence as she matures from a child into a woman, she yearns for an earlier time, when she felt closer to her mother; when this is offered to her however, as her mother tries to stroke her head, she rejects her mother's tenderness. The daughter , it seems, can never attain the heights she thinks her mother wants of her and her anger, directed at her mother, regarding her lack of real identity, tires and dissatisfies her.
The daughter is apparently uncomfortable not only in her relationship with her mother but also with the world, as if she is out of place. At the end, she retreats to a childhood place through the image of the lamb. The story becomes real through the emotions felt and the visual images created rather than in any storyline.