The ladies at The Young Women’s Leadership School of Queens (TYWLS-Q) were introduced to one of teaching artist, Katie Rainey’s, favorite short stories, “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid. This story particularly hits home with teenagers because it is unlike any short story they’ve ever seen (it’s told in second person and with little punctuation other than semi-colons). It is the story of a mother speaking to her (supposedly) daughter, telling her all the things she should and should not do in her life.
The young women at TYWLS-Q were very enthusiastic about this poem, debating what it means to be a “girl” today and what are the realistic and unrealistic expectations put on them by their parents, their school, their peers and society. The discussion took over the majority of class, but the young women were able to start their own “survival guides” to their lives, experimenting with a second person voice and rich sensory details to get their point across.