Are you considered a gullible Tourist? Or an experienced World Traveler?

by jsimak

Antigua, an island nine miles wide by twelve miles long, a beautiful island, an island whose beauty seems unreal, a place that one would want to consider visiting to escape the cramped concrete walls of a city. Antigua, whose natives that inhabit the island cannot stand a tourist from America, or worse, Europe.

The island of Antigua, a place one would give a second thought to visiting after reading Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place.  This short eighty-four page mixed narrative expresses not only Kincaid’s view of Antigua from her personal point of view, but also through a brief second person narrative; similar to a travel editorial guiding the reader through the sights and experiences as they step off the plane into Antigua and set off into the city.

However, upon reading A Small Place one could become infuriated by Kincaid’s bitter tone; she insults Americans and Europeans alike throughout the novel expressing her disgust towards them because of their past interactions with Antiguans.  Kincaid seems to blame to British colonization of Antigua in the past for its current situation; although Antigua is considered a free country it is ruled by a corrupt dictatorship government.  Kincaid’s upbringing in Antigua gives the reader a detailed insider’s look at the countries diminishing infrastructure, and lucrative government controlled monopoly companies.

Although the attacking tone used by Kincaid through the novel may anger its readers, it does however have an underlying meaning; it compels one to continue reading and possibly understand Kincaid’s biased but commendable opinion.

A Small Place is meant to be read by someone who is viewed as a “world traveller” as opposed to a “tourist”. Kincaid’s small but meaningful details of Antigua are the types of things a traveller would be interested in rather than the materialistic four star resorts that a “tourist” would like to experience. By pigeonholing the reader immediately into the category of “tourist” Kincaid is able to express her points with greater significance because she is building off the readers’ initial emotion of anger.

Although A Small Place is a novel that can fall under many different categories, in the end it is a powerful piece of literature that accomplishes Kincaid’s purpose; to present the hardships and beauty of Antigua to whom she believes to be the naïve westernized populations.


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