Purdue University The Jamaica Kincaid Short Story Letter

In our study of the short story as a literary genre, we have focused, so far, on several of the elements of fiction: plot, narrative point of view, and character. To better understand how these elements work, we have isolated them as we’ve read several stories and responded to discussion forum writing prompts. In the process, we have practiced how we analyze and construct meaning when reading short fiction.


This project requires you to explain how we go about reading and interpreting a short story. Your task is to write a letter to me (800-1,000 words, double-spaced) explaining exactly how a reader should go about constructing meaning in Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” (on Moodle), a short story.

In your letter, explain the process you would use to construct meaning of the story. Address what a reader should first consider when trying to understand a particular short story? What elements of the story should be considered? Are there literary terms that apply to the story? How do those terms function in the story? What does the story mean– or how do you interpret this story?

Your letter should explain exactly how you would go about reading Kincaid’s “Girl,” showing me (your reader) the skills you have developed to analyze and make meaning of short stories. The essay will show the process you undergo when reading stories.


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