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“A Small Place” a Story by Jamaica Kincaid Essay

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Updated: Jun 25th, 2020

There are many different periods in the history of development of any country. They have been developing in a unique manner, obtaining some peculiarities and character features. Moreover, the more unique traits a country has the richer its history is. Usually, a state has several stages of its development which show us the way in which a country obtained its modern appearance. Slave owner and feudal systems, rule of tribes, colonial dependence and a great number of other factors can influence current state of affairs in any country, leaving their mark on the worldview of people who inhabit it.

There is no use denying the fact that mentality of people is the reflection of all these processes and citizens of a state are responsible for its development and prosperity. This thought is often used by different authors who want to show peculiarities of some country or its topical problems. The story A small Place by Jamaica Kincaid is not an exception. It is the work devoted to the description of a small country Antigua and analysis of the influence of its colonial past on the modern life of a state.

Jamaica Kincaid is an Antiguan-American novelist, who was born in Antigua. That is why, it is quite logic that she devotes her works to this small state. In the work A small Place she makes an attempt to analyze and underline great influence of the colonial epoch on the current life of the country. The main reason for it lies in the history of the state. Being discovered by Christopher Columbus, in 1632 Antigua, though, became British colony.

This fact is the turning point in the history of a state. British Empire turned it into one of the most important harbors of the Caribbean basin. It is obvious, that slaves became the main workforce. Abolishment of slavery in 1834 did not influence greatly the life in Antigua and conditions became even worse. However, in 1981 the state obtained its independence. Besides, people saved colonial mentality and Jamaica Kincaid tries to show it in her story A small Place.

The work is divided into four parts which are rather loosely connected. The first part is devoted to the issue of tourism, which is one of the main sources of income of the country nowadays. Jamaica Kincaid describes views of the island which can impress a common tourist and leave a false impression of a good life in Antigua. However, at the same time the author shows that not everything is good in this country.

Being born in this state, Jamaica Kincaid shows some details which can be known only for people who live there. She depicts criminal problems and the problem of corruption. Being a small country, Antigua is mostly ruled by criminal authorities and bureaucrats. Majority of mansions are desolated and serve as the place where corruption prospers. This part can be taken as the introduction which shows a reader that Antigua still has some problems. The author also tries to trace the roots of these problems, describing colonial past of the state and mentioning the British rule. The author emphasizes the fact that there was a great number of problems connected with racism.

People, who lived in Antigua, were taken as a cheap workforce. Moreover, inhabitants of the Island were satisfied with this treatment, making no attempts to change the situation. In general, it is possible to say that this section is devoted to the mentality of people who live in Antigua and influence of the colonial period of the history of a state on its formation.

The third part of the story is devoted to the current situation in Antigua. The author tries to analyze if there were any changes in the life and mentality of people. Moreover, the author shows readers her thoughts about the library, which was damaged by the earthquake. It can be taken as the symbol of the whole life in Antigua. Jamaica Kincaid describes her childhood memories connected with it, underlining that the library was a kind of escape for a young girl. Nevertheless, now it still needs to be repaired, however, the government cannot do it as the whole life of the country is subordinated to corruption and criminals

Jamaica Kincaid ends her work with the description of admiring beauty of the island. The fourth part centers around the authors cogitations about the influence of wonderful landscapes on the life of people in Antigua, which still remains unchanged.

Having read the book, it is possible to make certain conclusion. The author touches the issue of the influence of colonial past on mentality of people. Descriptions of beautiful views of nature are opposed to total poverty and corruption which are the result of the attitude of people towards their country and destiny. Being born in Antigua, the author regrets that having obtained independence, the country is still not able to get rid of the vestiges of the past. The story A small Place shows the destiny of a state which has no future.

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IvyPanda. ""A Small Place" a Story by Jamaica Kincaid." June 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-small-place-a-story-by-jamaica-kincaid/.


IvyPanda. 2020. ""A Small Place" a Story by Jamaica Kincaid." June 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-small-place-a-story-by-jamaica-kincaid/.


IvyPanda. (2020) '"A Small Place" a Story by Jamaica Kincaid'. 25 June.

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