Will someone please tell me what the bread and the baker represent in "Girl"?

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lnorton eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl," a mother instructs her daughter on the how-to's of life -- from the everyday tasks to the moral stances she should take to the more abstract beliefs of her culture. Although these statements are certainly made over a period of time, they become a sing-song chant in the girl's head.

The bread and the baker represent the social standing the girl will achieve if she follows her mother's advice. If she does as she is told, she will be a woman that the baker will let "touch the bread." She is told to touch the bread in order to ascertain its freshness -- yet another canny housekeeping skill.

When her mother says, "you mean to say that after all you are really going to be the kind of woman who the baker won't let near the bread?" she is equating the sort of woman the baker won't let touch the bread with the sort of woman she has warned her daughter of maturing into -- i.e., "slut you are so bent on becoming."

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Girl

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