"It's shit being Scottish! We're the scum of the fucking earth! Some people hate the English. I don't. They're just wankers. We're the ones what were colonised by wankers. We couldn't even pick a decent bunch of people to be colonised by."
-Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting
The cultural ties to empire are not so easy to efface as the political ones. This is perhaps one of the most important lessons the world has learned from the mass movement towards independence on the part of European colonies in the past half-century. Even we Americans, more than two hundred years after having rejected the British monarchy and all it stands for, are forever poking our noses in the supermarket tabloids to find out what crisis either Diana or Fergie is embroiled in this week. Have we progressed so little? Don't we owe it to ourselves to pay our own culture the tribute which is its due?
This is one of the many questions that Jamaica Kincaid's essay, "On Seeing England for the first Time," raises. Being a "colonial" herself, she is forever being forced to question where her cultural loyalty should lie. Is she first and foremost an Englishwoman? An African? An Antiguan? Kincaid's essay is an attempt to come to terms with her own identity by exploring the influence of a colonial culture on her daily life as a child as well as on her education. She inundates the reader with "English images," just as she was once inundated with them as a schoolgirl. We sicken of the surfeit of imagery just as she must have when every waking moment, an image of England somehow wormed its way into her consciousness. "Made in England . . . those three words . . . ran through every part of my life, no...
... middle of paper ...
...e United States for some years, she has maintained her Antiguan citizenship. Her writings, including "On Seeing England for the First Time," are all examinations of her own past and her cultural identity. Even though she has left her island home, she is actively engaged in a struggle to achieve a synthesis of what is English and what is African in her origins. Through her writings, Kincaid attempts to assert her present self-an Antiguan woman-and all that her present self signifies. Perhaps such a synthesis-or even just the struggle for it-is the best that any of us can hope for.
Gordimer, Nadine. "Where Do Whites Fit In?" Hoy and DiYanni. 292-298.
Hoy, Pat C. II and Robert DiYanni, eds. Encounters: Readings and the World. 1st ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997.
Kincaid, Jamaica. "On Seeing England for the First Time." Hoy and DiYanni. 351-360.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Jamaica Kincaid's essay On Seeing England for the first Time "It's shit being Scottish. We're the scum of the fucking earth. Some people hate the English. I don't. They're just wankers. We're the ones what were colonised by wankers. We couldn't even pick a decent bunch of people to be colonised by." -Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting The cultural ties to empire are not so easy to efface as the political ones. This is perhaps one of the most important lessons the world has learned from the mass movement towards independence on the part of European colonies in the past half-century.... [tags: Kincaid Seeing England Time Essays]
2323 words (6.6 pages)
- I had never considered Jamaica in the way they did in the movie, Life and Debt. Whenever I thought about the country, which would have been rarely, I always only considered it as a tourist destination. I never took the time and considered what life could be like for those living there yearlong, and particularly those who were not involved in the tourism industry. I mean, if you ask almost any American how they would describe Jamaica, they would describe it’s tropical, beach-like atmosphere, but almost no one would discuss how difficult life is for it’s citizens.... [tags: Jamaica]
920 words (2.6 pages)
- Imagine living your life in complete darkness not knowing where your next step will lead you or if you are about to encounter danger. The blind receive help from Seeing Eye dogs. This allows blind people to be safe and not get themselves into dangerous situations. Without Seeing Eye dogs, blind people wouldn’t get around as easily. Seeing Eye dogs, through their strong characteristics, intensive training and physical help have a huge impact on the blind to enable them to lead productive, independent lives.... [tags: seeing impaired, training, assistance]
1342 words (3.8 pages)
- The world has changed in many ways throughout history. Industrialization has changed England in many ways. The Industrial Revolution was too hard on the men, women, and children in England. The changes that occurred in the economy and society in Britain during the late 18th and 19th century is known as the Industrial Revolution (McCloskey Int.). The Industrial Revolution was a drawn-out process that transformed Britain’s economy from the production of goods by hand to the production of goods by machine (Thackerary 1).... [tags: England]
1831 words (5.2 pages)
- Trevor Rhone's Old Story Time Today's Jamaica seems overly preoccupied with the issues of class and colour. In Old Story Time Trevor Rhone mirrors a Jamaica struggling with the same subject in the Mid Twentieth century.... [tags: Rhone Old Story Time Jamaica]
1855 words (5.3 pages)
- The poem "Girl" by author Jamaica Kincaid shows love and family togetherness by creating microcosmic images of the way mothers raise their children in order to survive. Upon closer examination, the reader sees that the text is a string of images in Westerner Caribbean family practices. Jamaica Kincaid has taken common advice that daughters are constantly hearing from their mothers and tied them into a series of commands that a mother uses to prevent her daughter from turning into "the slut that she is so bent on becoming" (380).... [tags: Poetry, Poem, Jamaica Kincaid]
816 words (2.3 pages)
- History of Jamaica Columbus discovered Jamaica on May 5, 1494, one year after he heard of the existence of the island. However, the true history of Jamaica begins with the African-Jamaican people who came to the island twenty years after the English took control from the Spaniards. The history of Jamaica can be broken up into different time periods, which were defined by watershed moments or events. Jamaican history begins with the establishment of the native islanders called the Tainos who inhabited the island for hundreds of years before the discoveries of Columbus.... [tags: Essays Papers]
1396 words (4 pages)
- Geography of Jamaica Christopher Columbus came upon Jamaica as his fleet sailed into St. Ann’s Bay on his second voyage of discovery to the New World in 1494. He described Jamaica as, “the fairest island eyes have beheld; mountainous and the land seems to touch the sky....and full of valleys and fields and plains” (Roberts, 141). Although founded by a Spaniard, Jamaica was eventually sold to England. Today, Jamaica is the largest of the English speaking West Indian islands. The tropical island of Jamaica, called Xamayca by the Arawaks, is situated in the heart of the Caribbean Sea, about 90 miles south of Cuba and 100 miles west of Haiti (Gleaner).... [tags: Geographical History Jamaican Essays]
865 words (2.5 pages)
- SKA. Imagine this: spring break 1962, Jamaica. You are strolling down the streets of Kingston, enjoying the cool sea breeze and the delightful Caribbean climate. The streets are filled with many sounds. Cars' horns honking, children playing, and people shuffling by. There is one sound, however, that rises above all the hustle and bustle. Horns, guitars, organs, drums, emanating from smoke-filled clubs and bar rooms, fill you ears with a lush sound. This is the sound of ska. Ska is an old Jamaican form of music that blossomed when Jamaica won its independence from England in 1962.... [tags: essays research papers]
1004 words (2.9 pages)
- Tropical Paradise In a quaint little village tucked away on a beautiful Caribbean island, lays the seaside town of Runaway bay. A town filled with deep rooted culture on an island filled with welcoming natives. The pleasant vibes of reggae music and Rastafarian culture flow from the hills to the sandy shores. This island rich with tropical fruits and spices is located in the heart of the Greater Antilles. History tells that the enslaved island once known to its natives as “Xaymeca”, has come a long way in becoming the independent nation known today as Jamaica.... [tags: essays research papers]
1195 words (3.4 pages)