After reading “A Small Place”, Jamaica Kincaid had a change of tone that was supposedly not trying to cause criticism towards anyone with their way of civilization.
I can understand that Kincaid can come out as someone who was aggressive in a way when admitting to the public about her experience. In the novel, the themes that were put into the story with what the author has mentioned can relate to race and power especially with colonialism. The explanation towards believing “A Small Place” has these significant themes were to discuss that an island with a lack of empowerment and survival has a greater chance of being conquered by a another group of people with higher wealth and establishment. The author begins the novel by portraying the reader as a tourist to help guide them through a journey to a small island known as Antigua. However, she views the tourist as someone who is “an ugly, empty thing, a stupid thing” and “a piece of rubbish” but is still worth being called a human being entirely (Kincaid 17).
Although a newcomer to the island, she is specifically describing how outsiders are to the Antiguans besides being different on the outside, they are seen as degrading on the inside. When reading throughout the novel, “A Small Place” reminds me of the story of Christopher Columbus because it sets as an example of colonialism. The similarities between those stories both involve the act committed by those from a European country conquering the west part of the globe in search food, possessions and even people to hold captive for slavery. In Kincaid’s perspective, Antigua is similar to America while the Europeans are their opposing rivals. She would blame tourists for sabotaging the once beautiful island into a now corrupted area of poverty and despair in her perspective. Antiguans were those who went through tough times and economical problems due to an act of colonialism. Although, the author depicts tourists as colonists such as terrorizing their possessions and enslaving the village people. Kincaid also mentions that slavery has also been a major impact that affected Antigua during colonialism.
The thought of slavery was being justified by those who had “to suffer the unspeakableness of slavery” and “the satisfaction to be had from” the wealthiest side of the world (Kincaid 10). In her perspective, Kincaid made a depiction of how African Americans were enslaved at the time. The Antiguans had no right to speak against their behalf and to accept on what is being taken by the British. In the end, Kincaid’s tone change from passive aggressive to a slight chance of compassion towards the island of Antigua. She describes the island as “beautiful” and “unreal” despite it being conquered the empowered (Kincaid 77). The author tried to stay positive over the situation of what Antigua has went through but was unable to forget the traumatic moments from her past. She also tries to understand as to what did the island deserve even though they have brought no harm towards outsiders yet treated unfairly to death.
Overall, my thoughts on “A Small Place” were that the author was not only expressing her emotions on through her trip in Antigua but discussing her hate on social injustice as a whole. I can agree that social issues such as prejudice and discrimination are still happening towards society yet there are much harder ways of dealing with those social issues. Kincaid talked about Antigua as an example of how colonialism and other social problems are still happening in the modern day. Her opinions mostly depended on her thoughts with racism and colonialism instead of creating offense to certain races including her own.