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The boy with his hair cut short by Muriel Rukeyser and The Girl by Jamaica Kincaid - Essay Example

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The objective of the following research is to evaluate and present to compare and contrast "The boy with his hair cut short" by Muriel Rukeyser and "The Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid. Both the works represent individual protest against inequalities in the society. …
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The boy with his hair cut short by Muriel Rukeyser and The Girl by Jamaica Kincaid
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The boy with his hair cut short by Muriel Rukeyser and The Girl by Jamaica Kincaid

From this research it is clear that devaluation of human spirit and social inequalities are popular themes/subjects among the modern writers. In the poem The boy with his hair cut short, Muriel Rukeyser protests against materialistic view of life mechanization and devaluation of human spirit. On the other side, The Girl, the poem/short story by Jamaica Kincaid represents postmodern writing in English literature. To be specific, this poem is based upon the literary technique of stream of consciousness. In addition, the poet utilizes the narrator as her mouthpiece to convey her message on the inequalities faced by girl children in a male dominated society. Thesis statement: The hero or heroine in the works The boy with his hair cut short and The Girl represent the protest against inequalities, the principles of their oppressors are different (yielding to the social norms and suppression) and this influence the final outcome of their protest. The hero of the poem The boy with his hair cut short is trying to protest against the inequalities in a mechanized society, in which adaptability is considered as most important. Richard Gray pointed out that “The subject is simple enough: set in Chicago during the 1930s, it describes a boy having his hair cut by his sister in hope that this might help him find a job”. The boy’s sister is aware of the fact that timidity is not helpful for her brother to survive in the mainstream society. So she decided to trim his hair and transform him into an individual with gentleness. From a different angle of view, the boy’s untrimmed hair can be considered as his protest against the materialistic view of the society. On the other side, the heroine in the work The Girl is not ready to yield to the strict social norms in the society. But her mother is trying her level best to influence her daughter. Harold Bloom opined that “In reading this short tale, some have found it to be an endearing reflection of a mother’s protective intentions over her daughter, while other readers have viewed it as a reflection of women’s potential under the colonized canon” (178). The narrator’s advises reflect the limitations and inequalities faced by women folk. In the poem The boy with his hair cut short the boy’s hair is symbolic of his rebellion against the mechanized society. In the work by Rukeyser and Daniels, the narrator pointed out that “He lets his head fall, meeting her earnest helpless look” (43). To be specific, one’s hairstyle reveals one’s social status and attitude towards the society. The boy is aware of this fact and he is trying to make use of his hair as symbol of rebellion. On the other side, the girl in the work The Girl utilizes her carefree attitude towards strict social norms as the symbol of her rebellion. She is not ready to yield, but decides to fight against inequalities in the society. Her mother’s words reveal her attitude towards the strict social norms which hinder women from entering the public domain. The boy’s sister makes use of her influence upon her brother to force him to yield to the social norms. Her principle is not to fight against the problems in one’s private/public domains, but to adapt oneself according to the situation. She is aware of the fact that her brother’s untrimmed hair will not help him to gain social status and an apt job. So she decides to influence him and trims his hair. On the other side, the mother in the work The Girl is trying to suppress her daughter. To be specific, the mother’s principle is suppression and intimidation. J. Brooks Bouson stated that “In some remarks on the story “Girl,” Kincaid states that the story captures her “mother’s voice exactly” (200). She is trying to suppress her daughter’s individual liberty. She is aware of the fact that her suppression will hinder the development of her daughter, but she feels helplessness. The boy in the poem represents male domination in the mainstream society. ... Read More
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