A Girl's Story

Bambara, Toni Cade

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction
Secondary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Annotated by:
Wear, Delese
  • Date of entry: May-17-2006
  • Last revised: Aug-22-2006


This short story is an examination of a young African- American girl’s first encounter with her own menstruation. She is totally ignorant about this natural biological event, thus is very frightened and believes that she is sick, even dying. She has no one to turn to, having been raised by her grandmother who has kept her ignorant. When she is discovered in the bathroom, bloody and afraid, her grandmother accuses her of having an abortion, which we learn was the cause of her own mother’s death. The story is a wonderful exemplar of how many women come to believe that female biology is something secretive yet powerful, natural yet mysterious, exalted yet slightly shameful.

Primary Source

The Sea Birds Are Still Alive


Random House

Place Published

New York



Secondary Source

The Sea Birds Are Still Alive