ENG-355 | Global Literature: Cultural Integrations in 20th and 21st Century Literature

Theme: Popular Culture

This week’s theme relates to the effects of popular culture. Reading through each passage and stanza – in “Girl” and “Wedding at the Cross” – influences a change. Popular culture also attempts to motivate change by attracting certain types of followers. In “Girl,” the Jamaica Kincaid sets up scenes of expectancy while using the personas of woman who already have made their mark of influence within society (e.g., labor, courtesy, and levels of compliance).

“…You mustn’t speak to wharf-rat boys, not even to give directions; don’t eat fruits off the street – flies will follow you…”

In comparison, the piece named “Wedding at the Cross,” – by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o – stems the folklore around a man whose personality seems to cause conflicts (too fadish/attributes of subculture) in this same trait (compliance, labor, and courtesy). He is the opposite.

“On Saturdays and Sundays he took her to dances in the wood. On the way from the dances and songs, they would look for a suitable spot on the grass.”

Now, in summary, this is the identity of popular culture (i.e., trendiness).

Meet the Authors of “Wedding at the Cross” and “Girl”

Thiong’o (wikipedia)

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

While in England, his immense moments under the Man Mau rebellion took precedence. Ngugi was recognized as the one to describe unhappy and unsuccessful romances, Christian identities, and fluently perform presentations pertaining to non-Christians, too. According to sources, Ngugi gained power for elaborating about the “injustices” of the dictatorial government during that certain era of the 20th century. Conversely, the governing powers exile Ngugi and his family to live in exile under the American way of life – finally, during the summer of 2006. Furthermore, Ngugi eventually became a published African-American author, after Random House kept his work – Wizard of the Crow – following his mutiny during the previous two decades after he had been sent out with his family. This work was translated to English from Gikuyu by Ngugi.

Jamaica Kincaid


During her younger years, Jamaica Kincaid enrolled in night classes at her community college. then, she resigned from her job to market her goals by attending Franconia College on a nice sized scholarship to support this kind of endeavor. Unfortunately, this particular project failed, as Kincaid quit college after being out of New York for only one year. As follows, Kincaid hits the streets of New York City to create content for a teenybopper magazine.

Additionally, Kincaid made her writing name, “Jamaica Kincaid,” Finally, according to sources, this is why: “…she described changing her name as ‘a way for [her] to do things without being the same person who couldn’t do them – the person who had all these weights …” These are the main themes of her pieces of work colonialism and colonial legacy,  neo-colonialism, sexuality, gender, renaiming, mother to daughter relationships, American imperialism, writing, a variety of aspects in sociology (class, power, and adolescence). Jamaica Kincaid’s work is considered ‘magic’ and ‘real.’

Kincaid enrolled in evening classes at a community college.[1] After three years, she resigned from her job to attend Franconia College in New Hampshire on a full scholarship. However, Kincaid dropped out of school after one year and returned to New York.[2] In New York City, she started writing for a teenage girls’ magazine and changed her name to Jamaica Kincaid in 1973 when her writing was first published.[3] She described changing her name as “a way for [her] to do things without being the same person who couldn’t do them—the same person who had all these weights.”

Her writing explores such themes as colonialism and colonial legacy, postcolonialism and neo-colonialism, gender and sexuality, renaming,[4] mother-daughter relationships, British and American imperialism, colonial education, writing, racism, class, power, and adolescence. author claims, however, that [her work] is ‘magic’ and ‘real,’ but not necessarily [works] of ‘magical realism.’”

Video: Jamaica Kincaid Reads “Girl”

(Courtesy of Chicago Humanitites Festival)

Teacher’s Instruction

1. Define the idea of popular culture (see “Popular Culture” – Wikipedia). You may provide a cluster to help explain (common relations to popular culture: pop culturefads, MTV, conceptual barriers).

Student Assignment

1. What are the fads in your community? Do you like these fads (why/why not)?

 Feature Image Copyright: artshock / 123RF Stock Photo


[1], [2], [3], and [4] “Jamaica Kincaid.” Wikipedia.Web. Last modified 11May2017 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaica_Kincaid#cite_note-:4-3

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