Style in Jamaica Kincaid’s “The Letter from Home:”Between Adoption and Adaptation

Asma Krifa

Abstract


         It is the aim of this paper to examine the way in which the adopted style and the implied symbols in Jamaica Kincaid’s “The Letter from Home” are adapted not only for the purpose of subversion, but also for the aim of reflecting the politics of resistance to  external powers, eminent in the text. In her one-sentence short story, Kincaid amalgamates between two different writing styles that are governed by the utilization of distinct syntactic structures and a peculiar use of punctuation, which reflect the divergent speaking voices as filtered through the protagonist’s consciousness. Primarily a stream-of-consciousness narrative, “The Letter from Home” communicates two disparate worlds that are marked by the stylistic differentiation of voices. Countering her mother’s simplistic sentences, a cryptic recitation of rustic women’s daily chores, which is basically a mundane description of the limitations of the female reductionist world; the daughter’s more complex sentences in terms of both structure and content are a rejection of everydayness and domesticity and an attempt to overthrow and subvert hierarchical gendered roles that obliterate women’s intellectual potential. A celebration of individuality, Kincaid’s short story centralizes the power of thought which grants the protagonist resistance to given and monolithic institutions, namely religion and colonialism. 


Keywords


Adopted, adapted, resistance, stylistic differentiation, subvert, individuality.

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