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Stories About Girls

Confucius, a wise man and Han dynasty poet said that when a woman is in her proper place, and a man in his, the grand law of heaven and earth is filled. This came to me as I was reading the story "Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid. The story is not so much about any one particular girl as it is the rules a girl must follow if she is to be a proper lady. It is like we are reading her mind and it is telling her everything that she must remember. Then once in awhile, she questions the rules or makes a statement about how much she is following the rules. We can see this when she first asks the question 'is it true that you sing benna in Sunday School?' A few sentences later, we come to the rule that says 'don't sing benna in Sunday School'. She continues to state the rules when she says very strongly 'but I don't sing benna on Sundays at all and never in Sunday School'. The Girl is ever sure about herself, but she is sure about the rules and what they are. She knows that she must be the kind of woman that is made by following the rules.

It appears that the 'rules' are a sort of box or prison for Girl, and so she is like an animal born in a zoo, always in a cage and not allowed to be free because of someone else. This same idea of feeling trapped in destiny can be read in the ideas of Confucius and other poetry from China during this time. Poet Chu Shu Chen many times in her poems told of being trapped in the women's quarters. Her sorrow of face is not noticed by anyone because the 'rules' say she must not complain. She must be beautiful because that is important so she pulls out her eyebrows and puts colors on her face. Some women do break the rules and it is well. In the 'Ballad of Mulan' a woman leaves her place of weaving (something women should do) to dress like a man and fight a war. After she finished the war, she came home again to her woman's place: she 'stood at the window and bound her cloudy hair.' Then she 'went to ...

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Stories About Girls. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 03:56, February 22, 2017, from