The Mother

The mother of a preadolescent daughter, and the main speaker in the story. The mother dispenses a long string of advice to her daughter to teach her how to properly run a household and live respectably. The mother intermittently scolds the girl between her words of wisdom because she fears her daughter will adopt a life or promiscuity. At the same time, however, the mere fact that she takes the time to impart her knowledge suggests a deeper caring for the girl.

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The Daughter

The preadolescent daughter who listens to her mother’s speech. The daughter says little, speaking only to defend herself against her mother’s accusations that she will one day become a “slut.” The girl’s protestations suggest resentment, but Kincaid does not provide her true thoughts or feelings.

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