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A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid Essay

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Travel Literature Essay - A Small Place

In the work “A Small Place” by Jamaica Kincaid, she discusses many things she is not happy with: the ignorant tourist, whom she addresses as the reader, Antigua’s corrupt government, the passiveness of the Antiguan people, and the English who colonized Antigua. This work can be discusses as a polemic because of Kincaid’s simplistic diction, and very confrontational tone throughout the book.

From the beginning, Kincaid introduces the tourist, whom she describes as a white middle-class man from either Europe, U.S., or Canada that is traveling to Antigua because he is bored with his life back home and also to pursue a sense of freedom and excitement. Kincaid goes to describe things like the Japanese cars, and the giant mansions that to the tourist would seem picturesque and fascinating, but has a different significance to the local Antiguan people. The tourists take the good weather for granted and is happy it is not raining while they are on vacation, not letting the thought that this good weather is the cause of the lack of fresh water for the Antiguan people cross their minds. On page 10 of the book, Kincaid addresses to the reader, “and so you needn’t let that slightly funny feeling you have from time to time about exploitation, oppression, domination develop into full-fledged unease, discomfort; you could ruin your holiday”. Kincaid’s sarcastic tone is emphasized in this quote to show her feeling of resentment towards the tourist. She feels that the tourist does have an idea of the past history and present difficulties of a place like Antigua, but just chooses to suppress those thoughts so they will not ruin their holiday. The funny feeling Kincaid is referring to is the tourist ...


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... and in a way the injustice will always continue.

In conclusion, Kincaid describes the state of Antigua in a very subjective manner. She is very straightforward about her resentment towards the ignorant tourists who exploit the poor Antiguan people for their pleasure, the corrupt government, the passiveness of the Antiguan people and their cultural subservience to the British, and finally the English who enslaved, and colonized Antigua. Throughout the book, Kincaid uses simplistic diction that can be very confrontational to get her points across. In other areas, Kincaid is also sarcastic, especially towards the ignorance of the tourist and the passiveness of the Antiguan people. Furthermore, Kincaid suggests that Antigua’s environmental constraints as being a small place also reflects how trapped the Antiguan people are in the shadow of the colonial past.




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