A new perspective

by adamhjoe91

‘A small place’ is a short journey which takes you through the realities of the Caribbean island, Antigua. The novelist Jamaica Kincaid born in St John’s, the capital city in Antigua, carries us into the actualities of the beautiful island, showing the living conditions and history in which it carries.

Jamaica Kincaid starts off with the perspective and thoughts as a typical tourist. She points out how the typical tourists in Antigua are being sheltered from the reality of the island, as they only see what they want to see.  In her short tour of the island, she talks about the cars and “why they look brand new, but they have an awful sound, like an old car,” (6) giving us an inside of the actual status of their living conditions.  She also gives us background information on the colonial possession of Great Britain, which held racism and injustice. Throughout the novel she holds a bitter tone as she describes Antigua, giving us a negative attitude toward the historic impacts made on Antigua.   The island is then presented in a much more fearful approach as Kincaid discusses the drug smuggling, and the political violence it holds and how the citizens are living in retribution.  The political history in Antigua, since the day they have been independent, is shown through Kincaid’s thoughts and views in a very resentful manner, of how power has rested from that point until now.

 The way she informs us of the realities on the island challenges us to open our eyes and see what is really happening in our world.  She gives us a perspective as a tourist (us) in those areas, and then brings us into the realities. This book was definitely an eye opener, giving us a sad realization through the living conditions the people in Antigua are in. Kincaid mentions a library that has not been rebuilt for years, and how it has been holding a sign “Repairs are pending” (9). To Kincaid, the library can also represent the city, with issues that needs to be fixed, which has been broken down for too long   . Kincaid mentions how “Antigua is a small place. Antigua is a very small place. In Antigua, not only is the event turned into everyday, but the everyday is turned into an event.”(56)  I believe Kincaid is trying to portray how Antigua is overwhelmed with struggles, and how it is emphasized by the small environment.  She uses two men who collided by accident as an example, where “this even soon becomes every day, for every time these two people meet each other again, sometimes by accident, sometimes by design, the shouting and insults begin” (56).

Jamaica Kincaid uses description, and her own experiences to emphasize the state Antigua is in, as her heart and affection for the island is shown through her story.  It is an eye opening novel that holds history and perspective.  As a tourist, or even as a North American citizen, this novel is recommended to help really be able to see and know what is going on outside our walls.

(500 W)


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