Postcolonialism

Jessica Keaton

Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place, 23-37

Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place is, in short, a postcolonial rant about the woes of the colonized people against the colonizer. In this case, Kincaid is from Antigua and is ranting about English control over her native people. Throughout the text, Kincaid brings up many textbook postcolonial complaints the colonized would expect to give the colonizer.

First off, Kincaid describes the moral dilemma of the English’s behavior. On one hand, the Antiguans are criticized for being a morally impure race, forbidden to use “abusive language”. (25) However, on the other hand, the English are permitted to use abusive language that is even worse than what the Antiguans would ever consider using.

This double standard continues toward the end of the section with Kincaid’s direct criticism of the English. In this section, Kincaid’s gloves come off, attacking the very moral fibers of the English. She cites the fault of the English for the oppression of her people, questioning, “Have you ever wondered why it is that all we seem to have learned from you is how to corrupt our societies and how to be tyrants? You will have to accept that this is mostly your fault.” (34-35)

Continuing on with her venting session directed toward the oppressors, she states numerous faults of the English, identifying they took over the Antiguan lands without permission from the people. She acknowledges the fact that their asking of permission would have been simply a gesture, admitting the power of the oppressor. On account of the English assuming power over the Antiguans, many people were harmed in the process. She notes, “You murdered people. You imprisoned people. You robbed people. You opened your own banks and you put our money in them.” (35) Not only have the English overpowered the Antiguans in a political sense, they have oppressed them in a physical and financial sense as well.

Moreover, she brings up the dilemma of the English’s moral defamation of the Antiguans. She states, “Even if I came from people who were living like monkeys in trees, it was better to be that than what happened to me, what I became after I met you.” (37) Not only citing the oxymoron of the English’s declaration of their society being morally superior to the Antiguans, this idea continues on with a common theme we have seen throughout the semester: the idea that native knowledge always triumphs over progressive thought.

This section of the text directly aligns with the idea of postcolonialism. In short, the oppressed become the oppressors due to their desire for revenge. In this case, Kincaid’s revenge is through the pen rather than the sword. In the end, she redeems herself and her people through her published venting session directed toward the English. She not only fully discloses, but relentlessly critiques the politics and procedures taken by the English during the colonization of Antigua. This, unfortunately, completes the vicious cycle of the oppressed becoming the oppressors, continuing the long line of conflict between at least one of the English and its prospective colonies.

Posted in Jamaica Kincaid, Jessica Keaton | 3 Comments

My home

Janelle Morris

Kincaid, A Small Place, Creative Assignment

Welcome to good ole Canton, Ga or as we young folks call it, C-Town! Upon entry into Canton, we appear to be a city place, but little would you know, we are really a small town on the inside. Here, everyone knows everybody, and if you are new to the town, it won’t be long until you are approached by someone. When you arrive into Canton, you will be greeted by the huge Wal-Mart and Carmike Cinemas Theater. This used to be a hot spot in Canton, but since the arrival of our new strip mall, things are less busy here. If you go down another exit to exit 19, you will see the new addition to our community. It is a mini mall with the latest stores like Target, Rue 21, and Dicks sporting goods. This is the hottest place to be. Not only is it a hot spot for shopping, but the restaurants keep business flowing as well. The Mexican place La Parilla has live music on some nights and happy hour which attracts the young adults in the area. We don’t have nightlife here so live music is as good as it gets.

One man attraction of Canton is the high school rivalry. Cherokee and Sequoyah High School have had this rival for many years. There is always a game of some sort occurring on either campus. While it sounds silly, this rival can get very serious. Sometimes you can see remnants of yellow paint on Cherokee’s red and black territory. If it’s not that, you can see the toilet papering of Sequoyah’s totem pole. It’s a gift Cherokee is never hesitant to give to Sequoyah.

There is one place that you must visit while in Canton. Get off exit 20 and make a right. At the fourth light, take a right and keep straight. At the second light, take another right and keep straight. There will be a road called Pearidge on your right. After you take that right, keep straight and you will see a brown house on the right. This is my grandmother’s house. As soon you enter, the aroma of vanilla fills the air. My grandmother, GramT, will be sitting in her lounge chair humming along to the Gospel music playing on the radio. She greets you with a hug or kiss. Next is the best part, the food. Now La Parilla might have live music, but this food ahs some soul in it. Within five minutes, left over barbeque chicken, macaroni and cheese, green beans and broccoli cornbread make a delicious spread on the table. Grace is said before taking in the food. GramT offers drinks or dessert after. As you rub your belly on the comfiest couch in America, most visitors tend to look at old video tapes of the grand children or church services. These tapes go as far back as 1987. Guests enjoy watching and reminiscing with GramT and comparing old hairstyles and clothes with the times of today.

Canton, GA is a great getaway to get that home atmosphere that you might have lost. While the entertainment side is here, Canton doesn’t forget to bring it back home to a cozy atmosphere where you can just kick your feet up. Enjoy Canton as much as I do!

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Mutual Dehumanization

Jordan Stanley

Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place, 23-37

Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place is the first-hand account of an Antiguan woman recalling her life in the small country and reflecting on both the past and the current states of the country. She describes in the second section her childhood, a time when Antigua was governed by the English. During this time, the Antiguans were treated very poorly by the “bad-minded” English (Kincaid 23). Under English rule, the Antiguans were dehumanized. They were sold and traded as slaves, forced to work, segregated from each other and the white men, and treated like animals. The Antiguans were dehumanized, and Kincaid believes that “actual death might have been better” (24). Because the Antiguans were dehumanized by the English, Jamaica Kincaid’s account of Antigua’s past, present, and future criticizes the English and actually dehumanizes them because this is a way of coping with the painful memories of English-ruled Antigua.

According to Kincaid, the English “hardly know what to do with themselves” when they are not governing “one quarter of the earth’s population” (23). They treated the Antiguans unfairly, and Kincaid says that “wrongs [were] committed” and “no natural disaster could equal the harm they did” (24). Kincaid goes on to describe the treatment of the native people, and her account illustrates that the Antiguans were dehumanized. They were “traded” as “only commodities” (26). They were not only treated inhumanely because they were made slaves but also because they were segregated, such as in the Mill Reef Club, which was “completely private” to white people (27). Thirdly and more obviously, they were dehumanized by the English because the Antiguans were treated like animals. Those who sought medical attention were inspected before they were admitted into the doctor’s presence (28). They could not have “dirt under [their] fingernails” and could not smell (28). Because the doctor refused to see them if they were not clean, according to his standards, they were dehumanized. Their identity was of no importance, and consideration was only given to their appearance. Kincaid’s mother believed that the doctor was afraid of germs, but he was actually being critical of their race.

Kincaid’s book criticizes the dehumanization of Antiguans by the English not only by describing it but also by dehumanizing the white people herself. She describes the members of the Mill Reef Club, all people from North America or Europe, as “pigs” (27). She says they behaved badly and had bad manners, “like pigs” (27). She believes that the Antiguans learned from the English “how to imprison and murder each other [and] how to govern badly” (34). Because Kincaid is so critical of the English people, grouping them all together and calling them “tyrants,” she is dehumanizing them and stripping them of individuality (34).

Kincaid does this intentionally, though, and not for the same reasons the English dehumanized the Antiguans. Kincaid dehumanizes the English as revenge. She is obviously critical of the treatment of her people by the English, so she does to them what they did to her: dehumanize.

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Breath-taking

Ja’lessa Morris

Kincaid’s A Small Place pg 71-81

Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place is split into four parts. Each section touches on a different faction of Antigua. In each section there is an idea introduced. Kincaid begins this book speaking directly to the reader. It’s almost conversational like. She walks the tourist from getting off the plane to the hotel. She is the eyes and ears of Antigua through the tourist. In the final section of A Small Place Kincaid talks about the physical beauty of Antigua. She talks about it as unreal and she describes the place as beautiful and as if it were a backdrop to a set. I feel that Kincaid’s description of nature is one that we have yet to see in other novels from this semester.

Kincaid describes nature as, “Sometimes the beauty seems unreal. Sometimes the beauty of it seems as if it were stage sets for a play,” (77).  Saying that the beauty is unreal is almost like it’s an out of body experience. It introduces the fact that Antigua is such a beautiful place it makes you wonder if it’s reality as if you need to pinch yourself to make sure it’s real. In other novels we have read this semester nature is seen as destructive, such as Lake of Heaven, or magical, such as The Snow Leopard. Nature is beautiful all on its own. Kincaid wants the reader to feel and see all she sees.

Kincaid goes into the colors of what she sees. She writes, “No real sand on any real shore is that fine or that white (in some places) or that pink (in other places); no real flowers could be these shades of red, purple, yellow, orange, blue, white; no real lily would bloom only at night and perfume the air with a sweetness so thick it makes you slightly sick,” (78). Not only do we see what is beautiful but we smell it as well. She says that its’ all too beautiful that it’s sickening. No place can be this perfect. With the inside things that are revealed in the town it’s amazing that there is still beauty in their environment. I feel that this is Kincaid’s main point,

Throughout Kincaid points out the side that tourists see and what the native see. There is corruption in the government and the fact that the place has not gotten better from the old days. Apart from the corruption, smuggling and abuse of power the beauty that surround the people has not lost its face. It is still unreal. There is no way that a place with such corruption could be so breath-taking but it turns out Antigua shows that there is. A Small Place shows that even though there is corruption in the community there is harmony in nature.

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Dahlonega

Kendra Cowart

Kincaid, A Small Place, creative assignment

If you come here, you will, as you have expected, find that we are indeed simple. You are probably here for leisure, maybe on a field trip, but probably on a small vacation… yes, vacation. Maybe you are here because of the town’s history. Maybe because you hate living in the city. Nonetheless, you are here to step away from your normal routine. So, you have chosen my town as your own personal getaway for whatever messed up reason you might have. You wanted something quaint, something that’s not the normal Myrtle Beach, or Panama City, or if you’re lucky, Jamaica. No beaches today; you’ve tired out of those from the past summer. Besides, it’s autumn. Who would go to a beach in the middle of autumn? You want to embrace this season and find some place that is the epitome of an autumn postcard. Some place with multicolored leaves, lakes, ponds, streams, mountains… mountains. I want to get away… into the mountains, you think. It’s quiet but vivid, full of nice people, full of history, but at the same time simple. Nice and simple.

Plus, it is a low cost vacation. It is a place with genuine people; not a place like the city, where people pick-pocket you for every penny that you have. Not that you don’t have money to spare. However, this is your second, third, or forth vacation this year and you do need to save money for that additional Colorado trip that you plan to take this winter.

Some of the locals here don’t even have money for one vacation. They are not successful business people like yourself. They might be involved in a business or have a business, but here the economy is not booming like the hustling and bustling city. This town has a college, but even so, many residents still have not attended college. You imagine that they envy you, with your successful lifestyle, not significantly tied down to a family at home. They just try to make ends meet. You come to the town to throw your money in the air for a trip that you don’t really need! But, you work hard, right? Of course you do. In fact, your back seems rather stiff from being cooped up in that office for what seems like forever. You make a note to yourself to see the local spa while you’re here, when you look out of the window of the nice town car that you are driving. You notice the college…

It has a nice, big, golden dome. But, is that real gold, or something else? As you learn, it is indeed real gold! How odd, you think. Then you remember the history, part of what drew you to this small place. Small Town, Georgia: part of the first gold rush in America. Sure, our history is “neat,” but are we, the locals, actually grateful for this cultural enrichment? Maybe when the annual Gold Rush festival comes around (it’s our own version of county fair). But for the rest of year, we locals barely recognize it. You see, we just want a place to linger around on the weekends (other than the notorious Wal-Mart). A bowling alley would be nice, or a skating rink, or maybe a movie theatre that actual plays the latest movie. But that’s out of the question; it might distract from tourism, i.e. the economy. That’s at least what I’ve been told. But if tourism is such a big revenue, then why do locals constantly need more money? Perhaps because they are trying to keep up with you, the wealthy tourist.

So you get the idea that this town is small and simple. However, you will never know what it means to the individuals here. Most grew up here. Those that grew up here find that they can never leave because of their nagging families, or their inhibitions of trying something new. This town is our routine. It’s beautiful, but we don’t realize it. Leaf season isn’t magical; it’s annoying. We wish tourists would scat so that we could have this town to ourselves. Let us live our daily routines in peace. You tourists think it’s cute; we locals just see it as a small place.

Posted in Jamaica Kincaid, Kendra Cowart | 6 Comments

Osaka

Eri Pinto

Kincaid, A Small Place

I have a grandmother who is like a lot of people here. Her bedroom walls are covered with Harry Belafonte posters. The photograph of herself that she passes around first is a brownish one of when she was young, straddling a motor bike and turning her head slightly to the side to show off her Audrey Hepburn hair from Roman Holiday.

She likes the woman she became in her twenties, a woman who knows the words to “Day-O” and the titles (translated) of the big American and European films. She dreamed of dancing professional ballroom.

When I wanted to be more Japanese, I called to ask about her life as a child. The life I wanted to imitate was the life she gave up with elation when American troops brought their radios and things.

I have a grandfather who is like a lot of people here. He asked about the friend I came home with a few summers ago. “She…likes sandwiches, doesn’t she?” he asked with a hollow laugh in his voice. I guess she does. He was thinking of how she left rice in the bowl at every other meal, which I agree was rude. Anyway, he likes sandwiches, too, but he won’t admit it.

He had friends who died in the war. He had friends with whom he debated the fate of the Japanese language. A match is not a match if that’s what the Americans call it. What do we need their word for? It’s a surikosuri hibana hassouki. A scrape-and-rub spark-producing device.

What do you care about my grandparents? Once again, they’re like a lot of people here.

My grandfather keeps quiet; he loves his home and lets me come to him to hear about it. Unless you flew all the way here to hear about yourself, the ones like him are the ones you should meet. Not that you have to (or should) listen about how stupid Soviets are and how indecent American women are, but anyway,

the xenophiles, like my grandmother, are the ones you’re likely to meet. My mother’s generation takes after them. She herself left Japan for the United States at seventeen, looking for some freedom, some color. Women my mother’s age like magazines with titles in English, French, Italian, Spanish. Magazines that advertise skin lighteners, undergarments modeled by foreigners who, as everybody knows, are more beautiful than our women. Magazines with disastrous English sprinkled into the text. It’s English, and that’s what matters.

I can’t tell you what to think when you come to Osaka and see young people with hair dyed lighter than yours. It won’t matter what I tell you, anyway, because you’ll be busy with people staring at you, fussing over you, practicing their English on you. I’m proud of my country’s hospitality, and I’m glad to say you’ll surely have a good time here. You’re not getting anything cheap or cheating anyone. What’s the matter, then?

I remember two blonde young American women laughing and holding a loud conversation during a Tokyo-Atlanta flight. They’d walked into the dining room at the hotel and the Japanese had started clapping for them. They’d felt like movie stars. “I was like, whoa, I’m just an American! But it was cool. I could get used to that. I’ll definitely be back. I’ll definitely be back.”

No wonder people my age pay I don’t want to know how much for Abercrombie and Fitch. No wonder even adults were sporting Teletubbies merchandise one summer. No wonder about my grandmother. No wonder about my grandfather. Please think of them both when you’re here, because they’re like a lot of the people.

Posted in Eri Pinto, Jamaica Kincaid | 2 Comments

Welcome to ATL

 

Kortney Shelley

Jamaica Kincaid: A Small Place (3-19) Creative Blog

Welcome to the Metro- Atlanta area!!! There is plenty to experience during your visit with us.  I will begin to tell you some of the exciting adventures that you and your family can embark on.  It is a very crowded but beautiful urban city.  Filled with many magnificent gardens, restaurants of all types and any kind of cultural experience you would like.   Within a certain area called Vinings, a nice Japanese restaurant that is literally an old train, has the best Sushi around.  Also various selections for shopping can also be within your grasp whether it be casual or for fine dining.

 Two of the best and most popular attractions within this area are White Water and Six Flags over Georgia.  White Water is an experience for the whole family to enjoy during the hot, summer months.  The many water slides, wave pool, delicious funnel cakes, and much more can be found within the park.  Waiting in a long line to go down the Cliffhanger to have the sensation of falling while water splashes all around you, is the best feeling and who better to share it with then loved ones.  At Six Flags over Georgia, the whole family can enjoy spending time with many of the famous cartoon characters such as: Tweety Bird, Sylvester, Bugs Bunny, and many more.  Going up the large hill on the Batman with your feet dangling with nothing between you and the ground and feeling the rush of wind as the roller coaster zooms downward into a loop is the most amazing sense of adrenaline that one can get at a cheap and reasonable price.  Even feeling the rush of sailing down a river and having one question on your mind, who will get under the waterfall and become fully submerged in water?  The live entertainment, especially during October, is absolutely worth experiencing. 

Of course there is some negativity in visiting the metro Atlanta area like traffic.  If going out on a Friday or Saturday night, expect to be sitting in traffic for at least an hour.  Not a lot of beautiful scenery can be seen within the city as well.  You will discover while driving through the tall buildings and many apartment complexes that trees are limited and grass is scarce.  A lot of color can be found within the city but it comes from the multi-colored apartments and homes.  As a tourist however, one must not look at the negativity but enjoy the many wonders and exciting entertainment that the city holds. 

The must see entertainment is the Fox Theater in the heart of Atlanta.  Walking into the gold, ornamental room with velvet curtains and marble staircases is a splendor that you must see.  The shows vary from musicals to popular literature adaptations.  The theater itself is decorated with twinkling stars on the ceiling and very large velvet, maroon curtain to introduce the show. 

You will definitely enjoy the wonderful attractions, food, and entertainment that waits within the Metro- Atlanta area.  Hope to see you soon.

Posted in Jamaica Kincaid, Kortney Shelley | 3 Comments