An island without voice

by tunghsin

A Small Place is a short 81 page, non-fiction travel writing and personal history set in arthur Jamaica Kincaid’s small native Caribbean island Antigua. When browsing in the bookstore it is highly possible to find A Small Place under many different categories such as autobiography, politics and history. Furthermore, People may expect a novel written by a Caribbean native, is a story about personal struggle and the uncivilized conditions they lived in. However, it is written in short chapters that could be presented as individual essays with the main focus of the view of the native Antiguan to the tourist, or the view of any natives to their modern invaders.

The historical text is presenting through Kincaid’s highly subjective personal point of view to the extent in which Kincaid addresses the reader directly as “you”. The arthur’s negative depiction of tourist is very obvious throughout. She seems to chastise Americans and Europeans for being able to afford to remain in luxurious accommodations and to enjoy a week of sun and fun. The accusatory tone and message make me as a reader feel offensive and think twice before travelling to Antigua. Furthermore, the writing seems plainly written yet has underlying meanings. For example, the comment of the American tourist in the novel is made to depict the tourist as ignorant and superior feeling towards the natives. Kincaid not only focuses on the irony of all the beauty the tourist sees as compared to the poverty of those that live there and work for these industries, but also discusses the dilapidation of their cities and infrastructure after gaining their independence back from their European colonizer. Hence, this is a classical tale of post-colonialism with the struggle of a nation and its people to be independent from been held captive as slaves, yet struggling to find balance from governmental corruption.

Overall, Kincaid’s pointed words are very powerful. She successfully introduced and educated the tourists of the Caribbean native’s point of view and their life stories to create more awareness and voice to the world. I strongly encourage you to take part of Kincaid’s adventure in Antigua, a small place.

(357 W)

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