Symbols Analysis In “Girl” By Jamaica Kincaid University Essay Example

When the mother instructs her child on the household rules of behavior, it demonstrates her inquisitive character. She understands how to cooperate with others. She demands the attention of her family members and the rest of the population. She loves her child and advises her not to be irresponsible with her sexual identity (Kincaid). The mother chastises her daughter whenever she mentions something out of the ordinary. She is an active part of various topics, both at individual and community levels.

Antiguan folk tunes represent eroticism, a subject about which the mother thinks her child already understands too much. Traditionally, native Antiguans sang benna to disseminate sensational whispers and conversation under the nostrils of the unknowing British. Singing benna at Sunday school implies non-compliance and wicked, prohibited information that cannot be publicly spoken in public, let alone in church. Even if the child does not consciously associate benna with sexuality as her mother does, her protests indicate that she is fully aware of benna’s magnetic force, mystery, and prohibited attributes (Rosenberg and Vitez). In reality, the girl’s persistent, almost frantic protestations may even imply that she had sung benna with her friends in Sunday school, an indicator of her burgeoning interest in males as well as evidence of her growing frustration with her mother’s counsel and incursions into her private life.

Various terms, such as cuisines, are scattered throughout the narrative in the mother’s directions. Such culinary analogies not only have sentimental overtones but also demonstrate an awareness of the setting, implying to the observer that she is speaking about something very intimate (Jayasree). Food is a highly particular component of culture and nationhood; therefore, discussing it emphasizes culture as a vital section of the story.

Works Cited

Jayasree, K. “Linguistic-Literary Camouflage in Jamaica Kincaid’s” Girl. ” IUP Journal of English Studies 13.2 (2018).

Kincaid, Jamaica. Girl. San Francisco Examiner, (1991).

Rosenberg, Naomi, and Michael Vitez. “Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” and the Challenge of Growing Up in Medical Training.” JAMA 322.13 (2019): 1238-1239.

Analysis Of “The Scarlet Ibis” By James Hurst

James Hurst’s novel, The Scarlet Ibis, is a piece rich in parallels and literary devices that evokes emotions of empathy and regret from the very beginning. Its central theme is the guilt and shame of the protagonist over the death of his younger brother. Above all, the author emphasizes these feelings with sad motifs and descriptions of a depressing environment. He also uses a large number of symbols to explain the emotions and feelings of the characters in detail. The story questions how a person who feels responsible for the death of a loved one can acknowledge it even after several years and what the consequences of such remorse are.

One of the central symbols of the entire work is the red colour, which primarily foreshadows and represents grief and death. A tragic undertone appears in the second paragraph when Hearst describes Doodle after his birth. ‘He seemed all head, with a tiny body which was red and shriveled like an old man’s (Hurst 1).’ The author uses this symbolism and red paint to warn the reader of the fear and the possibility of Doodle’s imminent death. At the end of the novel, it is also present as a personification of the tragic event. ‘He had been bleeding from the mouth, and his neck and the front of his shirt were stained a brilliant red (Hurst 6).’ Hurst writes this last metaphorical phrase to describe Doodles’ death, but instead of showing red as horrible, he refers to it as brilliant. It is done to demonstrate the guilt the protagonist feels. The narrator also defines blood as shiny because of the positive connotation of the word, indicating that the protagonist finds death somewhat beautiful.

Furthermore, another vital element of the piece is nature, which acts as a recurring motif. The beauty of the natural world enhances the life of Doodle and the narrator. There are regular descriptions of places such as the Old Woman’s Swamp, Horsehead’s Landing, and the family home itself, before and after the story’s events. The characters spend a great deal of time there, as Doodle is very fond of the wildflowers and the world around him. Equally significant is the symbol of the ibis, which is closely related to Doodle and acts as a category that connects feelings and experiences.

Unfortunately, the main character admitted everything only after some time, and he became ashamed of his actions and misunderstanding. He did everything to be proud of Doodle, but at the same time, he was only motivated by personal gain and pride. He forgot about his brother’s feelings and did not realize that he was very attached to him. He did not recognize that Doodle was very vulnerable and lacked love and care, and when he did, it was too late.

It is significant to indicate that the author uses symbols, images, and metaphors; this helps to set the sad tone of history. First, James Hurst ‘s ‘Scarlet Ibis’ makes extensive use of figurative language that makes the reader sympathize with the characters and therefore worry about them. For example, Hurst uses metaphors when he states, ‘Doodle! Doodle! I cried, shaking him, but there was no answer but the ropy rain (Hurst 6).’ When Doodle dies, he is compared to a beautiful scarlet ibis who also died similarly. This creates a connection between the readers and the characters. Another example in ‘Scarlet Ibis’ that creates a pathetic tone is when James uses hyperbole to exaggerate strong feelings. For example, ‘There is within me (and with sadness I have watched it in others) a knot of cruelty borne by the stream of love…’. (Hurst, 2). Since Doodle was born with physical disabilities, Doodle’s brother thought he could be cruel to Doodle.

‘The Scarlet Ibis’ is a melancholy and pitiful story, which the author tells through the use of comparisons. For example, as Hurst writes, ‘…but the oriole nest in the elm was untenanted and rocked back and forth like an empty cradle (Hurst 1).’ The author compares a nest to a baby’s cradle in this analogy. The nest and the cradle are similar because both are designed for an infant. This prepared the reader for Doodle’s birth and the family’s emptiness when he died. Moreover, Hurst writes, ‘…and finally collapse back onto the bed like an old worn-out doll (Hurst 1)’. This parallel is necessary to demonstrate that the Doodle cannot walk or stand. At the same time, the fact that he is being compared to a doll that is no more needed makes one feel sad.

Furthermore, ‘The Scarlet Ibis’ is a tragic story because of the imagery utilized. These images present the reader with a vivid picture of what is happening in the narrative. When the scarlet ibis appears, the psychological and physical resemblance to Doodle becomes clear. This can be explained because the ibis was lonely and clearly strayed from home; he is scarlet, as Doodle was at birth, and has an awkward body, gaining refinement only after death. Doodle was the only member of the family who was so touched by the bird’s death and decided to bury it. Doodle looks ridiculous when he hides the bird because he has trouble with the shovel, and his family tries not to laugh.

The story of the red ibis directly parallels that of Doodle, as both become victims of forces beyond their power. The brother notices that the bird is beautiful and graceful, but its wings break when it tries to fly away, falling to the floor extinct. Like the ibis, Doodle’s limbs are ‘uncoordinated,’ causing him to fall frequently. Thus, the red ibis symbolizes how fragile and beautiful can easily be lost.

Work Cited

Hurst, James. The Scarlet Ibis. Atlantic Monthly, 1960.

Hart’s Theory On Nature Of Law


Law is one of the fundamental institutions of any civilized society needed for stable development and growth. The existence of strict regulations guarantees that all members of a particular community will be protected from abuse, unfair use of power, and the rule of the strongest. The law also ensures the even distribution of benefits and helps to avoid anarchy. For this reason, starting with ancient times, every society had its own set of regulations and codes of behavior acting as the law and establishing a particular system of relations between individuals. The significance and scope of this phenomenon resulted in numerous philosophers’ attempts to investigate its nature and formulate the essential elements needed for the work of the legal system. Hart was one of the thinkers who offered his view of law and the factors necessary for its work.

Hart’s Theory

In general, Hart’s theory rests on the idea of the primary and secondary rules’ union. Starting his cogitations on the legal system, he assumes that only a small community with ties of kinship can successfully live using the regime of unofficial rules (Hart 92). These regulations will prevent members from committing crimes, such as theft, violence, murder, and other undesired acts (Hart 91). However, in any other conditions, this system will fail to perform its major functions as it will have the three defects, and it will demand supporting structures and regulations ensure the stable work of a society (Hart 92). These problems are uncertainty, the static nature of all rules, and the inefficiency of the diffuse social pressure needed to maintain the fundamental regulation (Hart 93). For this reason, the primary rules of obligation should be supported by the secondary rules and form a structure sufficient for promoting the further rise of any group.

Primary Rules

In such a way, the understanding of Hart’s theory demands the correct vision of primary and secondary rules and the role they play in any legal system. Thus, the first category forbids certain actions, require particular behaviors, and generate specific duties or obligations (Hart 94. For every member of a society with a set of primary rules, it means that his/her actions and their legal nature are analyzed regarding these concepts (Hart 97). It also requires everyone to behave in a particular way to ensure these rules are not violated and a group remains stable. Therefore, following Hart’s idea, primary rules are a critical aspect of the functioning of any legal system as they create the basis for the future evolution of the law. They outline the demanded code of behavior and frames for human interaction, central to everyday tasks and duties.

Secondary Rules

However, as stated previously, the system consisting of primary rules only will be ineffective because of defects. That is why the secondary rules modifying the framework are required. They can be determined as the regulations introducing procedures on how primary rules can be created, altered, upgraded, and enforced (Hart 95). In other words, the primary aim of secondary rules is to ensure that all members of society understand the nature of existing regulations, they can change over time, and clear criteria are helping to determine whether the rule was violated and whether there is a need for particular punishment. Hart is sure that the remedy for all defects outlined by him is the establishment of additional tools necessary for supporting the work of the existing legal system. These include the rule of recognition, change, and adjudication as the fundamental elements of any law.

Uncertainty is one of the major defects that should be addressed by introducing supplementary regulations. Thus, the rule of recognition is the remedy for eliminating this flaw (Hart 94). It specifies the features of suggested rules and explains why this regulation is viewed as law, and the social pressure that exists (Hart 94). It is possible to agree with Hart’s vision of this secondary rule as the most important one. The poor understanding of the nature of existing limits might result in the lack of attention given to them and their disregard. It is impossible regarding the work of any legal system. For this reason, the rule of recognition plays a critical role in establishing the basis for the successful functioning of current regulations and the determination of their validity. It can also be used to explain the provision of a particular punishment to a person.

The rules of change are another set of regulations viewed by Hart as critical. He explains that the static nature of the framework established by primary rules can be addressed by this type of secondary rule. In general, they allow individuals or a group of individuals to create new primary rules regulating the life and functioning of a community (Hart 95). They can be very simple or complex and are closely related to the rules of recognition as introducing a new regulation demands the correct understanding of its necessity and significance (Hart 96). It is possible to state that Hart’s idea of the rules of change helps to understand the flexibility of law and its ability to adapt to new conditions and demands emerging at different periods of society’s evolution.

Hart also speaks about the rule of adjudication as another strong remedy for improving the functioning of the legal system. It helps individuals to cause social pressure on rule violators by making authoritative determinations of whether a certain primary rule was broken (Hart 97). In such a way, this regulation guarantees that all basic norms of behavior, codes and duties will be performed by individuals; otherwise, specific punishment by the authorities will be provided. In such a way, all these three rules offered by Hart can be viewed as relevant aspects explaining the nature of legal systems. At the same time, Hart emphasizes the importance of the ultimate rule of recognition, asserting the validity of a particular framework or regulation (Hart 108). It is an important idea formulated by Hart as it shows that while laws can be valid because of their nature, the rule of recognition can exist only if courts and other persons act in a consistent way (Hart 108). In such a way, the ultimate rule of recognition helps to determine the validity of particular elements without a system.

Internal Point of View

Describing legal systems, Hart also appeals to the internal point of view. He defines it as the view of individuals who use rules as a certain code for appraising their and others’ behaviors (Hart 102). In primitive societies, most people might live following the rules introduced regarding the internal point of view (Hart 103). They seem the most logical and relevant regulations. It means that there is a shared acceptance of rules necessary for the functioning of the legal system and its ability to ensure the further evolution of society, its stable functioning and relevant punishment of all cases of misbehavior or violations.


In general, it is possible to state that Hart’s definition of the nature of law and the legal system is relevant and helps to understand how they function. He manages to describe how a community forms specific rules regulating its behavior and what supporting structures and elements are vital for creating a potent framework with the ability to control interrelations within it. However, several objectives might be introduced regarding Hart’s ideas. For instance, Hart states that once any rule or regulation is created, it becomes a part of the legal system with little uncertainty about its correctness or validity (Hart 94). However, in real life, laws are more flexible and might have numerous interpretations, meaning that they might remain abstract or demand additional explanations or cogitations.

For this reason, speaking about the work of the legal system and its rules, it is vital to consider their flexible and changing nature. They cannot be viewed as unchanged and always relevant statements existing over time. However, using Hart’s cogitations, it is possible to address this objection by appealing to the second rule of change. He states that it allows altering the existing code of behavior accepted by society by introducing new rules (Hart 95). It means that if a once established point loses its relevance, it might be modified or replaced by a new one, with is more significant regarding existing conditions and helps society to continue its evolution. For this reason, the flexibility of the legal system is explained by Hart through its ability to be altered using secondary rules and helping it to adapt to new conditions.

Another possible objective of ideas formulated by Hart is that the internal point of view might be different and result in the absence of acceptance by various parties. It means that some individuals belonging to the same community might refuse to follow the existing rules. They might see these regulations as irrelevant, outdated, or limiting their rights for particular actions. Such difference in views results in conflicts and the necessity to devote more attention to specific aspects of the legal system. In such a way, the idea of rules formulated by a group of individuals and accepted by the rest of the community offered by Hart might be contradictory and fail to explain the source and nature of existing law.

However, this objection can be refuted by the idea of the ultimate rule of recognition offered by Hart. He assumed that the right of courts and legal authorities to determine whether a particular action is legal or not comes from accepting the relevance of a certain regulation (Hart 107). It means that the majority of a community should recognize the validity of claims and statements for them to remain topical and be used as the main determinant of action.


Altogether, it is possible to conclude that Hart managed to explain the sources of law and how it functions. Cogitating on the union of secondary and primary rules, he creates the framework for understanding the nature of relations within a society and the factors necessary for establishing an effective and potent legal system sufficient to meet current needs and ensure future evolution. Hart states that obligation to follow a certain code comes from its validity, relevance, and acceptance by community members.


Hart, H. (1994). The concept of law (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.

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