Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl’ exercise

Don’t say yes. Don’t follow him home. Don’t wear those clothes. I told you don’t wear such a short skirt. I told you don’t wear that top – it’s too tight. Don’t go out, I told you. Don’t go out because there’s only monsters outside. Men are monsters, women are nothing more than helpless sheep. Men pray on women. Don’t go out. Don’t let them see you. Don’t let them touch you. Don’t let them ruin you. Don’t let them steal your virginity. Why did you go out? Why did you let them hunt you, savage you, pray on you? I said don’t let them feast on your flesh. You let them nibble on your skin. I said don’t talk to them. You laughed at their jokes. You listened to their speech. No, their gnarls. Men don’t speak. Men are no more than mere animals. You don’t listen. You follow him home. You let him kiss you. You let him stroke your back. You let him remove your clothes. You come home and you’re happy. Don’t let them fool you. Don’t let them take you away. These monsters called men. You go to him again. I say don’t, I say stay. You don’t stay. You go to him many times. One day you pack your things. You say you’re an adult now. You say you are going to live with him. I say don’t go. Don’t let him take you, distort you, ruin you. Don’t let him ruin your innocence, your pureness. You brush my pleas off like dust. You take your things and you leave. Don’t leave me I say. Don’t leave me all alone. Don’t leave me with the monsters.
But you’ve already left.

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