A Small Place, A Big Problem

by aialungo

Jamaica Kincaid enlightens her readers about the truths in a place such as Antigua in the book A Small Place.  She approaches the reader as if he or she is or has been a tourist and illustrates how they may react to Antigua if they were coming for a visit.  She then relives Antigua when it was a colonial possession of Great Britain.  She discusses the events that took place during this time.  Kincaid then ventures into Antigua as it is now and explores whether or not it was in fact better as a possession of Great Britain’s.  She uses the library that is still not properly running and the education downfall for children as examples of how Antigua is not a better place now.  She then discusses how people in power abuse their privileges and shares such examples as drug smuggling and political violence.  She ends the novel with a look at Antiguans natural and physical beauty.

I found that although the narrator allows Antiguans to come across as good genuine people, many are offended of Kincaid’s view of tourists.  Chances are many if not all readers are tourists and Kincaid even talks to the reader assuming he or she is a tourist and this can come across as if she is talking down to the reader and making them seem like monsters who do not appreciate the native people or place they are visiting.  This is not always the case and Kincaid should not assume so.  The purpose of the book was to open the reader’s eyes to what goes on in Antigua and make them realize it is not a fun vacation spot alone.  Antigua has real issues and contains real people who could use help from us. This is not a subtle message.  Kincaid makes it obvious and almost intrusive. She gets her point across quickly.  Kincaid leaves the reader feeling almost guilty and without a doubt wanting to know more about Antigua.  Her feelings on the matter shine through in her writing and if a reader agrees with her than there may be good feelings about the novel, but, if the reader decides that Kincaid is only being cynical and pessimistic about Antiguans well being, they may find her to be offensive and therefore turned off by the novel all together.  Kincaid has great use of imagery so the reader is able too imagine Antigua and all the events in his or her head to get a full understanding of the area.  Kincaid’s language was overall interesting and easy to comprehend.  The layout was prefect and the print was easy to read.

Overall, the book is enlightening and an eye opener.  It may be controversial to few but it is lovely to most.  Kincaid is an awesome writer and her point is well represented.



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