Comparison: A Small Place, by Jamaica Kincaid and We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin

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A major theme in Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We is collectivity, the state of being collected into one. Both texts are notable examples of such and show the different types of collectiveness as the point of view shifts from tourist to native, rationalist to anti-rationalist. In A Small Place, Antigua’s identity as a nation varies when observed from two different perspectives. Tourists view Antigua as a utopic resort that serves as an escape from the dullness of a routinely life. However, because a tourist’s beautifying gaze distorts the reality the Antiguans have to face, their view greatly differs from an Antiguan’s view. Due to Britain’s colonization of Antigua for over 350 years, the residual effects of their domination evidently leave the Antiguans economically powerless, though many fail to realize they are spiritually powerless as well. Under Kincaid’s scrutiny, which has insight into both a tourist’s and a native’s perspective, she demystifies the fog that prevents tourists from viewing Antigua as anything more than a resort. Similarly, One State’s demand for uniform belief in rationality acts as a cognitive prison in which individuality and imagination are not allowed. The protagonist, initially the model citizen as he is the chief builder of the Integral whose purpose is to spread rationality like a religion, is able to escape from that prison occasionally. His vacillation between freedom and the confines of the One State are illustrated through his personal journal entries as two contrasting perspectives become clear: the belief in rationality and the opposition of the coercive rationalism. In both Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, the authors use collectivity as a tool...

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...ntity. By using second person narration and tones of sarcasm, Kincaid introduces the tourists’ the and natives’ views of Antigua to show the reader that Antigua is not what it looks to be.

In conclusion, Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We are notable examples of collectivity and represent the author’s efforts to fix the problems their nations face. The nature of collectivity in both novels is depicted both psychologically and physically and proves to be dangerous when taken to extreme measures. Through using rhetorical thrusts and embedding messages in their texts, the authors’ endeavors to correct their nations by using the theme of collectivity become clear: these texts warn against sacrificing human nature for the sake of planned utopias not only for the people in the time period in which the texts were written for, but also for present.

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