In Jamaica Kincaid’s 1988 memoir

In Jamaica Kincaid’s 1988 memoir - Michael...

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Michael Sauvageau October 19, 2011 College Writing In Jamaica Kincaid’s 1988 memoir “A Small Place,” the author expresses her personal input about the life and cultural, economic, and governmental statuses of Antigua. In this piece, Kincaid illustrates an elaborate picture of the situations in Antigua from the native’s point of view, while simultaneously incorporating a second-person narrative of You, the reader, the “ugly human being” who inhabits her homeland. Jamaica Kincaid effectively challenges the readers’ preconceptions of tourism by using “You” in her memoir. Jamaica Kincaid begins the story with descriptions of the reader’s experiences when first arriving in Antigua. From the start, we are critiqued in a somewhat passive- aggressive account of our ignorance: “. . . since you are a tourist, the thought of what it might be like for someone who had to live day in, day out in a place that suffers constantly from drought, and so has to watch carefully every drop of fresh water used (while at the same time surrounded by a sea and an ocean – the Carribean Sea on one side, the Atlantic Ocean on the other), must never cross your mind” (Kincaid 111). She asserts a serious presumption upon you in the introduction, and sets a tone for the rest of the short story. Although some readers may disagree with her claims, as I did at first, I realized that on my vacations to the Carribbean, I would use water quite plentifully, and leisurely, without much thought to outside consequences. After several read-throughs of this writing, I began to see that more and more of what I initially thought was over-
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exaggeration and envy, was actually a true and heartfelt opinion as well as a perspective of many natives. By writing in such a manner, she leaves the reader questioning their
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This note was uploaded on 12/09/2011 for the course COMP-LIT 112 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '10 term at UMass (Amherst).

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In Jamaica Kincaid’s 1988 memoir - Michael...

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