by Jamaica Kincaid
Character Role Analysis
Mom and Cultural Expectations
Mom is definitely antagonistic, what with the constant name-calling. But we do think that she is trying to help Girl as best as she can.
It feels like the bigger problem here for both Mom and Girl is the cultural expectations that their society has for women. Think about it: Mom has a pretty big and stressful task in teaching Girl all the things she needs to know in order to get though life as a woman who is accepted in society. Those 605 words probably aren't the half of it.
So cultural expectations not only stand in the way of Girl growing up, but also they make life difficult for Mom and ruin the mother-daughter relationship. Bummer.