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“Girl” a Novel by Jamaica Kincaid Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Feb 14th, 2021

Jamaica Kincaid, “Girl”

The writer employs expository style of writing because she gives facts pertaining to the event. In this case, she explains how moral issues were transmitted from parents to offspring. The writer uses facts to educate and inform the reader on how traditional society behaved and performed its key roles. She shows that parents, especially mothers had a big role in shaping the behavior of their children particularly girls.

The type of writing is written in a formal organization style because the writer expresses his/her views to the reader. The reader is expected to go through the text without any difficulty. Readers are only convinced by using evidential information (Rozakis 67). Factual data is therefore another component of expository writing. The writer in the text uses authentic statements to show the reader that culture was supposed to be preserved in the family.

For instance, the mother warns her daughter that she should always walk like a good woman instead of posing as a slut. She is much worried about the idea of women becoming sluts because it degrades an individual’s standing in society. Other components of expository writing include qualitative arguments, the consistency of paragraphs and transitions from one idea to another, and finally lucidity and accuracy at the sentence level (Comer 25).

The mother recommends that the daughter should behave like a woman, not a slut because environments vary. Sunday is considered a special day and it should not be used to display immorality. It is on Sunday that everybody is keen on the way things are done in society. The comments suggest that women are prepared to take up responsibilities at home. The mother makes her daughter understand that the society does not appreciate sluts in society.

The daughter could not end up getting a husband in case she behaves like a slut. In this regard, the mother could be thought of as a traditionalist who prepares her daughter to be a good future wife. The daughter is modern since she wants to behave according to her instincts but not according to societal norms and standards. This suggests that there is a conflict between the reasoning of the mother and the thoughts of the daughter. The mother believes that society shapes the life of an individual while the daughter imagines that an individual is free to do as he/she wishes. This implies that people have freedoms of expressions.

The major conflict in the text is between modernity and traditions. The mother believes that children must be guided through life. In this respect, she goes a notch higher to advice her daughter on which people to like. This was common in traditional societies because the society was structured in terms of social classes and gender. It was very difficult for an individual to enter a different class. In this case, intermarriage was highly discouraged meaning that the rich could only marry themselves.

In the modern society, the sky is the limit for hard workers. The society does not place any restrictions to individual fulfillment. In other words, the society acts as a medium through which people realize their goals and objectives in life. The mother wants her daughter to behave in a way that pleases other members of society while the daughter wants to ape modern life depicted by celebrities (Stubbs and Barnet 12).

Could it be a monologue, the audience could not feel the essence of the story because the mother could have been dismissed as a traditionalist who does not understand intricacies of modern societies. This could not change the reader’s feelings and emotions because the words could have been understood to mean personal perspective, not the viewpoint of society. Dialogue is important in this text because it guarantees comparison. The daughter seems to be dissatisfied with the mother, which allows the reader to comprehend her reasoning (Kazin 32).

The mother advises the daughter to be careful in life because abortion could be necessary at some point. The mother demonstrates to her daughter how she could make a good drug that could be utilized in flushing out the fetus. This shows that the society allows abortion even though it is not legalized. Such an advice could not take place between a man and his son. Men are expected to learn their roles in the course of growth and development. It shows that roles are allocated in society based on gender (Whyte 112).

Incarnations of Burned Children

Hysterical realism means a literary genre exemplified by a strong difference between ornately ridiculous text, machinations or categorization and vigilant, exhaustive investigations of authentic specific social incidents. Wallace uses hanging sentences to show that the story is horrifying. He uses complex, simple and compound sentences to break monotony. The reader enjoys reading the text because sentences are well mixed. The door serves two purposes.

One, it shows that it is an entrance to any place. It is the only legal opening for accessing heaven. In this regard, it symbolizes the conduit used in accessing a place. In the second sense, it is used stylistically to show the nature of the story. The story is hanging meaning that it does not end. The reader is left asking him or herself some questions because it is not revealed whether the child survived. This kind of style is used in order to challenge the reader to delve deep to uncover the remaining part of the story (Williams 78).

Wallace does not care about explaining the accident when narrating the actions of the father because he was not responsible for taking care of the toddler. The writer could have assumed that women are responsible for taking care of their young ones. The father or male counterparts only intervene during trouble. This could be the main reason why the writer did not mention the father while giving his actions. Voice represents the character of the writer or style.

The writer in the text uses second person voice, which is usually used to teach or guide the reader through a particular process. The writer is sympathetic because he insists that an individual can easily cry provided he/she has a child. A person can only cry if he/she is sympathetic. Parents cry out of sympathy because they feel offended when their children undergo difficulties in life (Fawcett 90).

The toddler has expectations placed upon him after it grows up. Children are expected to behave in an orderly manner after they mature. Children should follow societal regulations because sanctions are slapped to non-conformers. The phrase ‘and saw the state of what was there’ could mean the condition caused by hot water. The baby could have burned badly because the mother nearly fainted. The mother prayed God to take care of things meaning that the damage caused to the baby was serious.

The baby could have died because it stopped crying. The phrase ‘and lived its life untenanted’ may perhaps signify the miserable life experienced by the toddler. Untenanted life means an empty life or deserted life, which does not have anything good out of it. This is an evidence showing that the child could have died. The story is neither metaphoric nor spiritual but it is real. Children face problems in the course of their growth mainly because they do not have advanced ways of communicating ideas (Dillon 56).

The title ‘incarnation of burned children’ means the Christian principle of the unification of God and man in the person of Jesus. This means that children die after experiencing serious burns. As earlier stated, children are helpless because they cannot explain what happens to them. Once faced with a problem, such as the one narrated in the text, they only wait for well-wishers to guise what could be going on. In this process, they end up meeting tragedies that include death. The story can be recommended to other readers wishing to gain knowledge as regards to child caring (Scholes and Comley 101).

The story is interesting because it defines feelings of women and men. The writer shows that women are more emotional while men can resist temptations that can hinder response to an event. Furthermore, the story presents an interesting writing style because the writer is incisive and persuasive. He ensures that the reader follows up his story. He uses several techniques such as similes, metaphors and personification. The story is more interesting because of the way sentences are arranged. The writer knows how to combine simple, complex and compound sentences in a paragraph (Polking 17).

Works Cited

Comer, James. Beyond Black and White. New York: Quadrangle Books, 1972.

Dillon, David. Writing: Experience and Expression. Massachusetts: Heath and Company, 1976.

Fawcett, Susan. Evergreen: A Guide to Writing with Readings. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.

Kazin, Alfred. A Walker in the City. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers, 1951.

Polking, Kirk. Writing A to Z. New York: Writer’s Digest Books, 1990.

Rozakis, Laurie. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Grammar and Style. 2nd ed. London: Alpha, 2003.

Scholes, Robert and Nancy Comley. The Practice of Writing. 2nd ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985.

Stubbs, Marcia and Sylvan Barnet. The Little Brown Reader. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1977.

Whyte, William. City: Rediscovering the Center. New York: Doubleday, 1988.

Williams, Joseph. Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace. Pearson Longman, 2007.

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IvyPanda. (2021, February 14). "Girl" a Novel by Jamaica Kincaid. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/girl-a-novel-by-jamaica-kincaid/

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1. IvyPanda. ""Girl" a Novel by Jamaica Kincaid." February 14, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/girl-a-novel-by-jamaica-kincaid/.


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IvyPanda. ""Girl" a Novel by Jamaica Kincaid." February 14, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/girl-a-novel-by-jamaica-kincaid/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. ""Girl" a Novel by Jamaica Kincaid." February 14, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/girl-a-novel-by-jamaica-kincaid/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) '"Girl" a Novel by Jamaica Kincaid'. 14 February.

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