Who are the two speakers in "Girl"? How does the narrative reveal their identities?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The two speakers in Jamaica Kincaid's short story "Girl" are a mother and her daughter.  The majority of the narrative is spoken in the mother's voice as she dictates to her daughter the rules of etiquette that she must follow while growing up.  The daughter speaks only briefly when she defends her actions against her mother's accusations of singing inappropriately on Sundays.  She speaks once more near the end of the story when she asks her mother about the baker. 

As the story progresses, the mother reveals herself to be overly critical and distrusting of the world of which her daughter will soon be part.  She highly values personal appearance and is keen on how she and her daughter are viewed by other people.  It seems that she wants her daughter to be respected by others, so she forces these rules on her daughter to try to preserve her daughter's respectability.  The daughter is largely silenced by her mother which may represent the level of silencing that the daughter has yet to encounter by the world.  The daughter's few words suggest that she is still innocent.