The Awakening

A mother’s gift remembered
Jamaica Kincaid a native of Antiqua grew up in a society, as did her mother before her, dominated by male demands and where females were consigned to meet them.   Now that the girl, is a woman on her own, the lessons, words, and love her mother has gifted her with come to mind in a new and stronger light than she first heard as a girl. Kincaid writes of those lessons in her short story “Girl” and her mother’s heartfelt attempt to deliver her daughter from the life, of injustice and male domination, she and the many women before her had known.
There were always the everyday things she would need to know no matter if caring for herself, or a family; simple yet practical things. The mother sees value in her daughter understanding how life is easier when you plan ahead and do not let chores pile up in telling her “wash the white clothes on Monday . . . wash color clothes on Tuesday and put them on the closeline . . .”.   The girl is reminded to take care of herself also and not to “walk bearheaded in the hot sun . . . soak your little cloths right after you take them off . . . when buying cotton to make yourself a nice blouse, be sure that it doesn’t have gum on it . . . because that way it won’t hold up well after a wash . . .” (Acosta. p. 351-352).
The girl’s mother knows there are those social behaviors that no matter how easy it would be to throw them out of the window, there is a value in remembering them. How others see you can open or close many doors in life.   The girl recalls when her mother told her “. . . always eat your food in such a way that it won’t turn someone else’s stomach . . . on Sundays try to walk like a lady and not like [a] slut . . . don’t eat fruits on the street—flies will follow you . . .” and be careful about the company you keep warning her to “. . . you mustn’t speak to wharf-rat boys . . .”   There was always the reminder to recollect where you are and for God sake behave accordingly as her mother retold her...