Narrative Focus?

by benjamin73

A Small Place, by Jamaica Kincaid, is about her view of her birth place and home until she moved at the age of seventeen. The tiny island of Antigua, in the West Indies, was her birthplace and her home until she immigrated to New York at 17. She later worked for The New Yorker magazine where she became well known. This book draws the reader in with the curiosity of the island, and encourages you to try and decipher the literature Kincaid writes.

A Small Place is divided loosely into four sections, in which Kincaid gives her view of the Island Antigua. Kincaid takes us behind the lush Caribbean life, behind the countryside and beautiful beaches to examine the real life of Antigua. She describes the government, tourist industry, and British Colonialism the way she experienced it, rather than like a tourist. There is a lot of information packed into this eighty-one page book. She builds up tensions, let’s loose and may even offend the reader. It might even make the reader question if they want to travel as a tourist again. The reader becomes drawn into her world and when you come out you are not the same.Map of Antigua and Barbuda

A Small Place has a very compelling and engaging narrative focus; being that it does not have just one. Kincaid has second person, first person and an odd modified third person in this captivating piece. This is one of the reasons why the reader can be drawn into this book. You are constantly trying to figure out what Kincaid is attempting to achieve. She is very critical of Antigua and tourists, even more critical than a normal Antiguan because she has left the island for many years and now returned. The first section is in second person which puts you in the place of the tourist arriving in Antigua. The author discusses roads, cabs, hotels and more but throughout the discussions there is a strong sense of bitterness. This bitterness may slightly offend the reader, but this bitterness is what draws the reader into the book.

In the second section she criticizes more. All her bitterness makes you reflect about this little island, but she still uses the second person so as the reader you are thinking about her comments but still in touch with Antigua. The third section is a continuation of her bitterness and criticism. Kincaid gets her point across well and as the reader I started to dislike the tourists and the British for all the suffering they had brought to the people of Antigua.

The fourth section has a modified third person and is all about the beauty of the island, not showing any bitterness or anger written earlier. The reader might wonder what just happened. The previous three sections have had you on a roller coaster ride of emotion. Moving you up, down every which way you can think off. This section snaps you out of the trance of the book and brings you back to the real world. You come back with a different view of a Caribbean island and a tourist destination. It makes you wonder if you want to be a tourist in a third world country ever again.

I recommend this book. It opens up a different point of view of a tourist destination. It draws you in and lets you see the real island. It will change your image of a third world tourist destination and makes you consider if you ever want to travel as “a tourist an ugly, empty thing” again.


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