A Small Place With A Big Dilemma

by jahanbakhsh

I imagined four short untitled sections in a novel must be something vague and incomplete; however, I was mistaken. The writer has a strong point of view that attacks readers and draws them in at the same time.  Jamaica Kincaid writes with vehement hostility and uses sarcastic remarks towards anyone from the colonial past or the tourist-driven present. Although Kincaid writes with enraged, blunt, and impolite expressions, she has without a doubt convinced me with her words. Indeed, a story of a small place; nine miles wide by twelve miles long; one about the ugly underbelly of tourism and the irreversible history of the island called Antigua.

As shocked and uneasy as I felt due to Kincaid’s words, I was mostly thankful for her piece of work, for it has made me think deeply and critically. We travel to Hawaii or other Caribbean islands with only a seven-day paradise on our minds. We only think of somewhere warm by the beach and often forget about whose beaches we are on and why we do not see any locals around us (other than the servers).

Kincaid reminds us of the questions we sometimes ask ourselves while traveling like: “doesn’t this island have poverty?” These moments are fleeting. We go back to enjoying our five star hotel, drinking a margarita whilst tanning in the sun. She reminds us of what we should be aware of; the people who live there (who may or may not even want us there) as we may be “invading” their land.

Above all, I loved Kincaid’s harsh words. I am so much more aware and educated about being a tourist and will always remember the sensitivity and respect I should have for those whose land I am visiting

 

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