Antiguan Struggle In Jamaica Kincaid's Essay A Small Place

  • Words: 2683
  • |
  • Pages: 6
  • This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.
Download PDF

Racism, oppression, abuse of power, exploitation, the privileged, a never-ending cycle of poverty and forgiving but not forgetting. Every single one of those atrocities occurs all over the world, and Antigua is a mere example of it. But the way Jamaica Kincaid brings it out in a worthy jeremiad is breathtaking. Jeremiads are long, mournful complaints or lamentations. A Small Place, written by Jamaica Kincaid is an overwhelmingly truthful but angering jeremiad discussing the problems in Antigua. Published in 1988, A Small Place is a part fictional and part autobiographical novel about the Antiguan government, tourists, and Antigua’s English colonial impacts. In the first half of the novel, the narrator describes typical tourists, and the ignorance they have as well as the hate of the natives. In the second half, the narrator discusses Post-Colonialist Antigua as Kincaid remembers from her troubling childhood experiences and the impacts of colonial practices today. Kincaid was born in Antigua, a small Caribbean island. She was known as Elaine Potter Richardson, where she then moved to the U.S when she then changed her name. She began to portray her experiences and thoughts of Antigua’s exploitations. Jamaica Kincaid is a brilliant author with many works. Kincaid is able to grasp the reader’s attention by vividly raising questions in our minds. This compelling jeremiad, A Small Place, reveals the author’s anguish when examined through New Criticism, Psychoanalytic and Post-Colonialism lenses. Each lens reveals Jamaica Kincaid’s resentment showing why she cannot forgive or forget the brutal history of Antigua by Europeans. Jamaica Kincaid’s writing, A Small Place, displays her anguish of the betrayal she felt in Antigua through a New Criticism lens. Kincaid shows the appreciation of Antigua and its history, though anger is filled in the whole book, it varies on to different reasons. She goes from hating tourists and their oblivious ways, to anger about slavery and Europeans, all in a beautiful way with her tone, language, and style in her jeremiad.

Racism, oppression, abuse of power, exploitation, the privileged, a never-ending cycle of poverty and forgiving but not forgetting. Every single one of those atrocities occurs all over the world, and Antigua is a mere example of it. But the way Jamaica Kincaid brings it out in a worthy jeremiad is breathtaking. Jeremiads are long, mournful complaints or lamentations. A Small Place, written by Jamaica Kincaid is an overwhelmingly truthful but angering jeremiad discussing the problems in Antigua. Published in 1988, A Small Place is a part fictional and part autobiographical novel about the Antiguan government, tourists, and Antigua’s English colonial impacts. In the first half of the novel, the narrator describes typical tourists, and the ignorance they have as well as the hate of the natives. In the second half, the narrator discusses Post-Colonialist Antigua as Kincaid remembers from her troubling childhood experiences and the impacts of colonial practices today. Kincaid was born in Antigua, a small Caribbean island. She was known as Elaine Potter Richardson, where she then moved to the U.S when she then changed her name. She began to portray her experiences and thoughts of Antigua’s exploitations. Jamaica Kincaid is a brilliant author with many works. Kincaid is able to grasp the reader’s attention by vividly raising questions in our minds. This compelling jeremiad, A Small Place, reveals the author’s anguish when examined through New Criticism, Psychoanalytic and Post-Colonialism lenses. Each lens reveals Jamaica Kincaid’s resentment showing why she cannot forgive or forget the brutal history of Antigua by Europeans.

Jamaica Kincaid’s writing, A Small Place, displays her anguish of the betrayal she felt in Antigua through a New Criticism lens. Kincaid shows the appreciation of Antigua and its history, though anger is filled in the whole book, it varies on to different reasons. She goes from hating tourists and their oblivious ways, to anger about slavery and Europeans, all in a beautiful way with her tone, language, and style in her jeremiad.

“I am filled with rage,” the criminal says, “But why?”And when I blow things up and make life generally unlivable for the criminal (is my life not unlivable too?) the criminal is shocked, surprised. But nothing can erase my rage- not an apology, not a sum of money, not the death of the criminal- for this wrong can never be made right, and only the impossible can make me still: can a way be found to make what happened not have happened?” (Kincaid 32).

Kincaid has a passion of never being able to forget the past, holding onto her feelings of betrayal. She catches the reader’s attention with her hostility and anguish in not being able to change the past. Her anger not seeming to not “let up,” for the truth in how the past should never be forgotten, but how she will never be able to forgive. Equally important is how the style of Kincaid’s writing having different viewpoints, allowing the reader to understand the different ways to interpret her novel. Something you would not expect to be beautiful. Critics say Kincaid’s style is “intimidating”, how she writes makes the reader feel attacked. But the understanding of her writing is to know that she is speaking in a way that isn’t meant to be personalized. She writes in poetic forms of the second point of view grabbing the attention of readers, showing it through ways of repetition and simplicity.

“It is a worldview defined by the constancy of transformation. Reflecting this sense of shifting, multiple, transparent realities, Kincaid’s style becomes a strategy for resisting the binary thinking and opacity of Western thought. Thus, love and hatred, sympathy and rage, loyalty and subversion coexist in her sentences, producing a powerful, complicated, layered verbal texture.” (Hirsch and Schweitzer 478).

This beautiful quote expresses how the style of Kincaid’s writing transforms into many different emotions as she talks about different things like memories of her childhood or Antigua’s corruption twists her writing into many different tones. Jamaica Kincaid constantly blurts out what she wants to say, needs to say with a stunning essence. Her writing has many different interpretations but the biggest one that stood out to me was her inability to forgive or forget, expressing her alluring roller coaster of emotions throughout her novel.

“She felt obligated to “remember not just the past—because there is no past […] she expressed black islanders’ loathing for the British Empire, which stamped its domination on Antiguans through a constant English-based routine—Anglican church bells marking the hours, English teatime and eating habits, and even bulbs and plants from the British countryside. Her reason for concentrating on the corrupt history of the Western Hemisphere was survival—”getting something out of my head that if I don’t will drive me absolutely insane.” (Snodgrass 1).

Jamaica Kincaid’s writing shows the need, a want to bring out her frustration in a way that thoroughly explains what she believes. For why she can never forget the past others don’t think twice about. But her jeremiad brings into context various things as to why her anger should not be dismissed so quickly. Subsequently, Kincaid feels betrayal and anguish for she can never forget or forgive what happened in the past, through her polemic techniques of writing.

Through the Psychoanalytical lens, the loss of identity in Kincaid’s life contributes to the beautiful polemic style illustrated in A Small Place. The never rebuilt library in Antigua, the anger in which having no native language but the colonizers, and the stolen culture of Antiguans contributes to the long list of why Jamaica Kincaid is angry. Constant ways of looking at Jamaica Kincaid’s past contributes to how you may perceive how she writes. She seems to have points in her writing that are not easily seen but can be soon realized if the text is analyzed from different points of view. Yet the beauty of it is astonishing for Kincaid exposes how various agonies came about her past, contributing to her works.

“For isn’t it odd that the only language I have in which to speak of this crime is the criminal who committed the crime? And what can that really mean? For the language of the criminal can contain only the goodness of the criminal’s deed. The language of the criminal can explain and express the deed only from the criminal’s point of view. It cannot contain the horror of the deed, the injustice of the deed, the agony, the humiliation inflicted on me” (Kincaid 31-32).

Jamaica Kincaid points out how dismaying the reality of how the Europeans colonized and ripped out the history, the culture of Antigua for example. The natives had no true memory or knowledge of their own language, thus the loss of identity. Another equally important part in Jamaica Kincaid’s jeremiad was her childhood library in Antigua. The library was a big part of Kincaid’s life, for throughout the whole book, A Small Place, she brought up how angry she was that it was never rebuilt due to the corruption of the leaders who didn’t even care about it.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

“But if you saw the old library, situated as it was, in a big, old wooden building painted a shade of yellow that is beautiful to people like me,[…], the fairy tale of how we met you, your right to do the things you did, how beautiful you were, are, and always will be; if you could see all that in just one glimpse, you would see why my heart would break at the dung heap that now passes for a library in Antigua.” (Kincaid. 42 & 43).

The library that was never rebuilt in Antigua had Jamaica Kincaid in pain for it was a huge part of her childhood. Yet again, Europeans brought about another injustice, by never rebuilding it, they took that memory, adding it to the neverending pile of things they have destroyed. Besides that, Europeans seem to have a history of stealing other cultures, desecrating other histories. Continually, Europeans seem to only care about themselves and think themselves superior.

“A Small Place represents a turning point in Kincaid’s work, a direct confrontation with the history of colonization and her own claustrophobic entrapment in its legacy: “I met the world through England and if the world wanted to meet me it would have to do so through England,” she declares. […] Kincaid explains how difficult it is to twist that language so as to make it reflect the perspectives both of the criminal and of the victim. At the end of the book, she realizes that it is even more difficult to express the transformation of the victims themselves.” (Hirsch and Schweitzer 482).

This whole quote is beautiful but heartbreaking for Jamaica Kincaid and so many other Antiguans that were taught nothing about their homeland, but about Europe, and Europe and again, Europe. As a result, Antiguans like Jamaica Kincaid feel a wave of anger they can never forget, for they have a destroyed culture they know nothing of, feeling dejected for their loss of identity.

Looking through the Post-Colonialism lens, A Small Place, shows the corruption and racism in Antigua. Throughout the whole book, Jamaica Kincaid expresses her outrage towards colonialism, where she then acknowledges the corruption left in its wake. The reader can acknowledge her anguish through the jeremiad consisting mostly of exasperation, but heavy in mourning.

“Have you ever wondered to yourself why it is that all people like me seem to have learned from you is how to imprison and murder each other, how to govern badly, and how to take the wealth of our country and place it in Swiss bank accounts? Have you ever wondered why it is that all we seem to have learned from you is how to corrupt our societies and how to be tyrants?” (Kincaid 35).

Antiguans were taught nothing but corruption, not the ability to uphold society, to govern. The Europeans took control oppressing and enslaved the natives. So once they “freed’’ and allowed the Antiguans to govern themselves, it was not a surprise the Antiguans turned to corruption between themselves. Kincaid expresses her hate of Europeans in a very open way, showing that her past experiences have biased her opinions and rightly so. Furthermore, Kincaid brings out ways Europeans abused their power and began to think highly of themselves and their skin color. They started to treat those with different skin color, especially black people, in such an appalling way.

“Wealth and power are in the hands of a very few, all of whom, in Kincaid’s view, are corrupt and indifferent to the welfare of the people. The people’s resignation of voice is evidenced by the fact that the very politicians who keep the people poor in order to make themselves and their friends rich are regularly re-elected to office. Kincaid explains this passivity in terms of the cultural master narrative sought themselves higher than everybody else, especially those with a darker skin tone.[…]All that is wrong is the product of colonialism: government corruption is a natural product of British domination. […]Without it, there is the painful reality of human freedom and responsibility” (Byerman 91-103).

Jamaica Kincaid constantly addresses ministers, people of government in A Small Place, who took advantage of their positions and found ways to gain even more power and wealth unlawfully. Kincaid voices more reasons as to why she is so angry, why the never-ending cycle of corruption does not seem to stop. Moreover, people who had done despicable things had somehow still prospered and gained power, like the Barclay brothers. The unfairness to having white skin, to being treated like God when you are white but prejudice when you are of a darker complexion utters such rage within Jamaica Kincaid and so many others.

“[…] Barclays Bank, were slave traders. […] But people just a little older than I am can recite the name of and the day the first black person was hired as a cashier at this very same Barclays Bank in Antigua. Do you ever wonder why some people blow things up? I can imagine that if my life had taken a certain turn, there would be the Barclays Bank, and there would I be, both of us in ashes. Do you ever try to understand why people like me cannot get over the past, cannot forgive and cannot forgive? There is the Barclays Bank. The Barclay brothers are dead. The human beings they traded, the human beings who to them were only commodities, are dead. It should not have been that they came to the same end, and heaven is not enough of a reward for one or hell enough of a punishment for the other. People who think about these things believe that every bad deed, even every bad thought, carries with it its own retribution. So do you see the queer thing about people like me? Sometimes we hold your retribution.” (Kincaid 26)

Jamaica Kincaid, with her lyrical words, emphasizes the injustices of slaves. How the memory of slaves would not be forgotten, and not so easily forgiven. For Kincaid reveals the disappointment of how people who do horrendous things could still gain so much. Consequently, the corruption in Antigua contributes to A Small Place, but Kincaid’s fury does not stop here for her inability to forgive is vast and stupendous, but she has her reasons.

All in all, Jamaica Kincaid essay, A Small Place, was a compelling novel with a poetic style that brought about the harsh truth of how so Antiguans have a loss of being able to govern themselves without corruption, so many having no history, culture to look back upon for it was all tore up. Kincaid uses anger to inform readers about Antiguan daily life, where here furious essay focuses on racism and emotions. Many critics have applauded her for it, but others have attacked her nature of writing, being too disparaging. Jamaica Kincaid writes about history people often ignore, focusing on corruption, tourism, and loss of identity all within Antigua. The African-Caribbean writer may be hated against by many, but no one can deny her writing style is a not less of beauty. Countless emotions brought about in Kincaid’s jeremiad, the inability to forgive or forget will remain the unspoken truth in A Small Place.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this Page

Antiguan Struggle In Jamaica Kincaid’s Essay A Small Place. (2021, October 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/antiguan-struggle-in-jamaica-kincaids-essay-a-small-place/
“Antiguan Struggle In Jamaica Kincaid’s Essay A Small Place.” Edubirdie, 01 Oct. 2021, edubirdie.com/examples/antiguan-struggle-in-jamaica-kincaids-essay-a-small-place/
Antiguan Struggle In Jamaica Kincaid’s Essay A Small Place. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/antiguan-struggle-in-jamaica-kincaids-essay-a-small-place/> [Accessed 24 Jan. 2022].
Antiguan Struggle In Jamaica Kincaid’s Essay A Small Place [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Oct 01 [cited 2022 Jan 24]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/antiguan-struggle-in-jamaica-kincaids-essay-a-small-place/
copy
Join 100k satisfied students
  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
hire writer

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via support@edubirdie.com.

Check it out!