March 20, 2015
You, Yes You, You suck
The first aspect that comes to mind when we think of an essay could be anything, however, it is definitely not sarcasm;a professional work that begins with sarcasm is a rarity.
A Small Place is one occurrence of these phenomena, in which her acrid tne and biting contempt ally to create a unique argument against colonization In her essay,
Jamaica Kincaid, an author from Antigua, discusses how her country has gotten worse since experiencing British colonialism. In the essay Jamaica Kincaid describes how British colonization has had many harmful long term effects such as corruption, sexism and racism. The book is an attack on the audience, the Antiguan people, England, and the United States. Jamaica
Kincaid’s use of sarcasm and aggressive diction in order to attack the reader is useful as a hook, but this technique is does not help to further her argument later in the essay.
The use of sarcasm and aggressive diction in
A Small Place is particularly effective at the beginning of the essay to hook the reader. The first section of the essay was written in second person, and is from the perspective of a ‘typical,’ caucasian tourist from the United States.
Kincaid describes the thoughts that this typical tourist apparently thinks when he/she visits
Antigua. She describes the tourist, and therefore the reader, as shallow, ignorant, inconsiderate, and selfish. Kincaids use of sarcasm is shown through this quote: “… you needn’t let that slightly funny feeling you have from time to time about exploitation, oppression, domination develop into fullfledged unease, discomfort; you could ruin your holiday.” (Kincaid 10).
Kincaid uses sarcasm to mock the tourist’s selfish thoughts and accuses the reader of believing that his/her own discomfort is more important than the huge problems of exploitation, oppression, and domination in Antigua. This aggressive technique is very effective as a hook because it startles the reader and triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response. When the reader sees that he/she is being attacked he/she becomes curious to read more of the essay to see what grounds these accusations are on. Kincaid continues to hook the reader by insulting them when she describes you, the tourist, as an “ugly person.”(Kincaid 14). This blunt and informal comment not only shows Kincaids deep anger towards western culture, but it also enrages the reader and hooks him/her very successfully.
While Kincaids use of sarcasm and aggressive diction hooks the reader, later in the book it takes away from Kincaids argument. When Kincaid uses these techniques it throws the reader of and distracts the audience from kincaids main argument. One way that Kincaid insults the reader is through the use of parentheses. Kincaid assumes that, because the reader is likely a caucasian who lives in the United States or Europe, they are very ignorant. One example of kincaids use of parentheses is in this quote: “...Antiguans (black people) at all, for the mill reef club...and the only Antiguans (black people) to eat...the name of the first Antiguan (black