The Island: Caribbean History
September 26, 2014
A Small Mind from a Small Place “You are ugly” (Kincaid pg 14). Some might find this statement rather blunt, but when writing about the injustice her people have faced, Jamaica Kincaid spares no one. Kincaid reveals the ugly truth about Antigua. While the eighty-some page rant about her misunderstood home is negative in tone, the purpose—serious suffering, poverty, and mistreatment of her people comes across loud and clear. Kincaid’s bitter tone was instantly evident. Her tone was effective in capturing the audience’s attention. Some might believe this was a technique to initially pull her audience in, however her intense demeanor continued throughout the entire book. Kincaid was clearly passionate about the place that she envisioned her home country to be.
She opens by describing a scene that many (tourists) would think of. She put the audience directly into the scene as she notes every thought. Her sarcastic persona slowly became present until eventually she is full on mocking. Kincaid continued to describe every moment through the tourists’ eyes but still enlightened the audience with the truth of the land. Kincaid carefully chose words that depicted the island’s great beauty but also demonstrated the harsh reality of it. Since the story is told through first person, the audience directly receives the emotion from Kincaid. This personal narration is critical in getting her points across. Kincaid’s writing allows the reader to connect to her on an intimate level. A particular example of this is when she describes the library. One could feel her heartbreak as a place she grew to love was being treated with such neglect. “Imagine, then, the bitterness and the shame in me as I tell you this. I was standing on Market Street in front of the library. The library! But why is the library on Market Street? I had asked myself” (Kincaid pg 41). Here one could feel the emotional connection, the history, and the significance of library. Her personal words and expressions add a level of complexity to her work that one would not find in a normal textbook about Antigua. Throughout the book, Kincaid’s argument about the mistreatment of her home