The Influence of Gender Roles

700 WordsApr 23, 20193 Pages
The Influence of Gender Roles “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid is a short story contained in her collection of stories written in 1983,“At the Bottom of the River.” This story is about a mother giving advice to her daughter on how to survive and succeed in the society that they are living in at about 1950-1960. The story portrays a mother’s urgent repetitive voice to save her daughter from sexuality, by teaching her how to become a good woman in the society of Antigua, a British Island. The setting of “Girl” affects the relationship of the characters by the mother dictating a way of life to her daughter and reinforcing the gender roles in society. She reinforces the feminine gender roles by showing her daughter the…show more content…
If her daughter becomes faced with this situation, she can take action immediately by using the medicine that her mother is teaching her how to make. The mother is so focused on teaching her daughter how to get rid of a child that she does not realize that her words and character is affecting the relationship between them. The setting of the story affects the relationship of the characters as well, because the mother, who is influenced by her own life experiences in Antigua, wants to dictate a way of life for her daughter. She also reinforces the gender roles of society as a means to protect her daughter from the dangers of sexuality. Kincaid, express this when the mother says, “On Sunday try to walk like a lady and not like the slut you are so bet on becoming; don’t sing benna in Sunday school; you mustn’t speak to wharf-rat boys, not even to give directions” (Shreve &Niguyen, 2006, p. 183). The mother is not giving her daughter a reason why she should not sing benna or talk to the boys; rather, she only gives her daughter orders. The daughter only speaks twice in the story, which shows the power the mother has over her daughter in order to command her life. In one way or another this affects their relationship because the daughter is never allowed to express her own feelings or be sincere to her mother. This lack of expression and confidence can
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