A Small Place: Antigua’s Deprecating Dependency
Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place explores the blissful ignorance that tourists possess as they visit Antigua without knowing its history which earns them an unfavorable reputation among the locals. The ugliness of tourism within the novel is characterized by the quick turnaround of tourists that only explore a surface level understanding of the island before leaving. Through the narrator’s abrupt but subtle use of interjections, such as noting the tourists’ ugliness or ignorance in a conversational tone, and a figurative ‘tour’ through Antigua’s history, Kincaid dissects the tourist’s perspective of the island, allowing for them to shed their original viewpoint and perceive the island for what it really is: a small place that heavily depends on the influx of tourism despite its deprecating effect on the island’s unique cultural identity.
The thematic element of tourism immediately develops within the first page as Kincaid diverges down a rabbit trail of what a tourist might think should they travel to Antigua. The narrator describes the temporary selfish desires that tourists possess as they wish to spend their vacation “where the sun always shines and the climate is deliciously hot and dry,” ignorant to the fact that there is a drought plaguing Antigua. (Kincaid 4). This immediately presents a dichotomy between the inhabitants of the island and the travelers as they have differing interests and outlooks on their respective situations. This difference creates a clear and present conflict in which one can analyze the tense relationship between the two as the memoir plays out.
Kincaid further demonstrates the Antiguans’ distaste for the seasonal visitors by stating:
An ugly thing,...
... middle of paper ...
...r, independent state is corrupt, there is little room for that state to flourish economically without an intervention of some other state. We can see that the last thing Antiguans want is more tourists due to the consumer lifestyle that they bring to the island, but it is the one factor that they need, dooming them to a cycle of barely surviving economically while ignorance plagues the land they call home.
We can see that tourism is something that will be present for years to come in Antigua but there remains the question: if Antigua did not economically depend on tourism, would it still be resentful of the vacationers? But, as for now this message relates closely to the title in the sense that as long as Antigua is dependent on the one thing that it hates, the twelve by ten mile island will lose any sense of individuality and be known as simply that: A Small Place.
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