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Girl by Jamaica Kincaid

Jamaica Kincaid, a female author with the power of invoking emotions worthy of making the reader become deeply invested in her idea of family relationship and based on her early life experience in Native Antigua. Being brought up in a life of poverty, Jamaica Kincaid (originally named Elaine Potter Richardson but later on changed her name) was the daughter to a carpenter (father) and a homemaker (mother). At the age of sixteen, Kincaid moved to New York to earn a living for herself, much like the protagonist in her books Lucy (published in 1990), and Annie John (published in 1983).

In her first publication “Girl”, which is a significant identifier to the life she saw back in Antigua, Kincaid presents a girl’s perspective of being faced with various levels of discourse in their brought. The one-page detailed short story, Kincaid highlights the psychological torment a girl goes through, at the hands of her relentless mother that easily employs the use of oppressive and harsh language (Saxton 1999). Kincaid never intended to bring about a scenario which was simply based on cruelties but wanted to ensure that people understood the extremism in the social structure and laws created solely to suppress women.

The question of understanding Kincaid’s gender, whether she is a male or female, can evidently be answered by her approach she adopted for the short story “Girl.” Being a female, and having gone through an environment owning elements of oppression and gender subjugation, Kincaid is able to interact with her readers and forward the topic with much clarity. Leading a life of continuing hardship, Kincaid is able to comprehend the life of a female in society. The prominent factor of being a writer worthy of understanding the emotional aspects, expressed implicitly to the readers, it becomes necessary for the writer to have undergone a scenario similar to it previously.


Saxton, R. O. (Ed.). (1999). The girl: constructions of the girl in contemporary fiction by women. Macmillan.



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