A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid: Critical Analysis

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In the work “A Small Place” by Jamaica Kincaid, the author expresses her strong opinions concerning Antigua in a second person narrative. She expresses about how she resents the Antiguans because of their ignorance towards tourism, their corrupted education system, and the colonization in Antigua. She explains how they're unaware that the tourist business could be a form of slavery and tourists exploit the Antiguan citizens that are in poverty for his or her pleasure. Kincaid additionally dislikes how Antiguans are being tutored from the very people that are controlling them and their corrupt education system. additionally, what Kincaid despises most is concerning the cultural subservience to the British, and eventually, the English who enslaved and colonized Antigua.

A Small Place is split into four structured, parts. the primary section begins with Kincaid’s narration of the reader’s experiences and thoughts as a hypothetical traveler in Antigua. The second half deals with Kincaid’s recollections of the “old” Antigua, the colonial possession of Great Britain. Kincaid remembers the casual racism of the times, and therefore the subservience of Antigua to England and, especially, to English culture. After that, deals with Antigua’s present and begins with Kincaid asking herself the troubling question of whether or not, considering the state of the island nowadays, things weren’t, in fact, better within the previous days. Lastly, She describes Antigua’s beauty as so extreme as to seem “unreal,” nearly like an illustration or a stage-set. Kincaid says that the wonder of their surroundings could be a mixed blessing to the Antiguans, who are trapped in an unchanging setting within which their poverty is a component of the scenery.

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A reason why Kincaid resents the Antiguans is due to their ignorance towards tourism, they are unaware that the tourist industry is a form of slavery and travelers exploit the Antiguan citizens that are in poverty for their pleasure. The author points out that the places that appeal to the travelers are often places that are a source of difficulty for the Antiguans that live there. For instance, Kincaid mentions that when the weather is hot and the sky in Antigua is clear it usually indicates that they don't have necessities such as fresh water and materials due to the drought. Kincaid notes that “the sunny, clear sky of Antigua, which indicates a lack of rainfall, makes fresh water a scarce and precious commodity. For travelers, however, the beauty is all that matters—the drought is someone else’s problem.”(4)

Another example is when people are being driven in a taxi and discover the changes between there roads and cars they find it exciting since they are on their holiday when in reality travelers do not realize that Antiguans have to drive under dangerous conditions every day due to the bad roads and the cars that they drive filled gasoline. Kincaid says the tourists are oblivious to the conditions that Antiguans are under and stating that the cars “look brand- new, but they have an awful sound—its because they used leaded gasoline in these cars whose engines were built to use non-leaded gasoline.” (6) The brand new cars that the Antiguans are using were not built for the conditions that they are in.

Moreover, Kincaid dislikes how Antiguans are being educated from individuals that colonized Antiguans and their corrupt education system. Kincaid observes the standard of education on Antigua, similarly because the minds of its inhabitants, and remains deeply ambivalent regarding both. The young Kincaid’s greatest pleasure is in reading, however, everything she reads is tainted by bitterness since she is learning the dominant culture from the position of dominated individuals. She herself is the product of colonial education, and he or she believes that Antiguan teenagers these days aren't as knowledgeable as they were in her day. Kincaid was raised on the classics of English literature, and he or she thinks today’s young Antiguans are poorly spoken, ignorant, and dedicated to American pop culture. Kincaid notes that “In Antigua these days, most teenagers appear almost illiterate. They speak English as if it were their sixth language.” (43) Education has clearly suffered on Antigua within the years since independence, and Kincaid remorsefully notes the poor speech habits of the younger Antiguans. in addition, one more reason why their education is dangerous is that the government is making an attempt to keep black children out of school. Kincaid explains that “this school began to just accept girls who were born outside marriage; in Antigua, it had never been dawned on anyone that this was a way of keeping black children out of this school” (29)

Lastly, Kincaid despises most about the cultural subservience to the British, and eventually, the English who slave and taken control of Antigua. Kincaid insists that corruption pervades each side of public life on the island, that everybody knows about it, which nobody appears to grasp what to do about it. In an article, it discusses how tourism has ruined Antigua and is merely used for the government's profit arguing that “the tourism business produces Antigua’s beauty as a commodity for consumption”. (Beriault 661) Government ministers run brothels, steal public funds, and broker shady deals, however, there's a conspicuous lack of outrage on the part of the general public. In other words, Antiguans are educated to admire the very individual that once enslaved them. Kincaid is afraid by the genuine excitement the Antiguans have concerning royal visits to the island: the living embodiment of British imperialism is joyfully greeted by the previous victims of that imperialism. For, instance the author mentioned that “when the queen came, all the roads that she would travel on were paved afresh in order that the queen might have left with a good impression” (12) Kincaid is indicating that Antiguans are unaware that they worshipping the people who took away their human rights.

Finally, the author expresses her strong opinions regarding Antigua in a second person narrative. What Kincaid despises most is regarding the cultural subservience to the nation, and at last, the English who enthralled and controlling Antigua. Kincaid additionally dislikes how Antiguans are being educated from the very individuals that inhabited them and their corrupt education system. She expresses regarding how she resents the Antiguans because of their ignorance towards tourism, their education system, and also the colonization in Antigua. additionally, she explains how they're unaware that the tourist business could be a type of slavery and travelers exploit the Antiguan citizens that are in poverty for his or her pleasure.

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A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid: Critical Analysis. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/a-small-place-by-jamaica-kincaid-critical-analysis/
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