Jamaica Kincaid was born in 1949 as Elaine Potter Richardson on the island of Antigua,02b76kz.gif West Indies. In Antigua, she completed her secondary education under the British system due to Antigua's status as a British colony until 1967. She went on to study photography at the New York School for Social Research, after leaving the family for which she worked, and also attended Franconia College in New Hampshire for a year. Her first writing experience involved a series of articles for Ingenue magazine. In 1973, she changed her name to Jamaica Kincaid because her family disapproved of her writing. (Pupello) Kincaid was a well-educated and talented woman. Her works are considered autobiographical work. She wrote books, short stories, and poems about her life, her family, and her experiences. Some of Kincaid’s works include:

  • Girl (June 26, 1978) poem
  • "Antigua Crossing." (1978)
  • Annie John (1983) book
  • A Small Place (1988) book
  • "Ovando." (1989) Conjunctions14
  • Annie, Gwen, Lilly, Pam and Tulip (1989) book
  • Lucy (1990) book
  • At the Bottom of the River (1992) book
  • "Song of Roland." (12 April 1993) New Yorker
  • The Autobiography of My Mother (1996)
  • My Brother (1997) book
  • My Favorite Plant (1998) book
  • My Garden (1999) book
  • Talk Stories (2001) book
  • Mr. Potter (2003) book


In 1978 The New Yorker published “Girl,” Kincaid’s first piece of fiction. The story has also appeared in Kincaid’s short-story “At the Bottom of the River.””Girl” appears to be a lecture from a mother to her daughter. The mother is trying to teach her daughter to behave and how to act properly. The mother expects a great deal from her daughter and makes it very clear to her. She demands a lot of her daughter, and made her daughter feel intimidated and scared of her. Kincaid’s most startling insight in "Girl" is the appalling amount of detailed information the daughter is being told. From proper table setting to "womanly" walking, the girl’s lessons are many and extremely precise. Mother wants best for their children but the mother in this short story is obsessed with her daughter and trying to make her “perfect.” Kincaid uses a series of long sentences to convey both tone and theme. The tone is one of repressiveness and obedience.(Moore) “This is how to behave in the presence of men who don't know you very well, and this way they won't recognize immediately the slut I have warned you against becoming;” (Kincaid) The mother makes that statement to her daughter in trying to prove to her that if she doesn’t listen to her that people will think she is ill-mannered and not of high quality. The mother may be looking out for her daughter but she is also trying to look out for herself and the reputation that her daughter may give her.

My Brother

This sixth book by Antiguan-born Kincaid is a thoughtful memoir about her youngest brother Devon's AIDS-related death. Remembering her role in the final years of his life, the author examines the nature of love, family ties, sacrifice, and death. Having left home at the age of 16, when her brothers were three, five, and seven, Kincaid did not return to Antigua for 20 years. Her relationship with her siblings is distant, based on almost no personal knowledge of them. As she puts it, "I think of my brothers as my mother's children." Upon learning of Devon's illness, Kincaid gathers a supply of AZT, a drug too expensive to be made available in Antigua, and makes a rare journey home.( Straus) Kincaid wrote about her journey in taking care of her sick brother. Kincaid pleads with her brother to make something of himself before he dies. She insists that he move out of their mother's house, where there is no room for him, and establish a home of his own. A home that is more than an arm's length away like his last one. The author also suggests that he hold down a job, something he has never done in the past. Devon does not take any of this to heart and when his is healthier, begins sleeping with women again and denying that he has AIDS. When Kincaid hears of his behavior she attempts to reason with him, asking him how he would feel if someone did that to her. An odd question from someone who must seem more like a distant aunt than a sister. In any event, her appeals fall on deaf ears.(Straus)

Work Cited
Pupello, Vanessa. "Jamaica Kincaid." Web.http://english.emory.edu/Bahri/Kincaid.html
Moore, Julie. "Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl"--How Structure and Language Convey Tone and Theme”." Web. <http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1285441/jamaica_kincaids_girlhow_structure.html>.
Straus, Farrar, and Giroux. "MY BROTHER, Jamaica Kincaid." Young Adult. Web. http://www.teenreads.com/reviews/0374216819.asp.