What is the relationship between a mother and a daughter in the short story "Girl"?

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As it is depicted—with the mother-figure addressing the girl on all manner of subjects, ranging from how to eat or walk or spit up in the air to how to bully or please a man—the relationship indicates that the young woman being addressed is relatively powerless both within this relationship and within her society. Many of her mother-figure's instructions have to do with serving or pleasing other people: how to iron her father's shirt and pants, how to please a man, how to smile at people she doesn't like, how to cook or garden or sew or act so that she does not dishonor herself or her family. Therefore, we see that the girl is not really meant to establish an identity of her own; she is supposed to take her place as a caretaker in the home.

Very possibly, her mother anticipates having someone to help her with the chores around the house, as this is an incredibly long list of responsibilities, and there's not a single mention here of what the girl should do to take care of herself,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 892 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 17, 2019