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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2 Responses to Breath-taking

  1. kukookoko says:

    Jalessa,
    I love the point of harmony even among the midst of corruption. I agree with you completely. Within Kincaid’s “A Small Place”, the scenery is described using beautiful language that captivates the reader and makes one skeptical of a place of beauty being so dangerous. I guess it could be compared to that of a rose. A rose is beautiful and is a symbol of beauty but also has a darker side which is its thorns. When looking from a distance, it is percieved as magnificent but when you touch it, the thorns stab your finger and draw blood. I see the same thing within Antigua. It is beautiful for tourists because they only see the outlands, but when one is a native, the claws of the island are revealed.

    Kortney

  2. janbun09 says:

    I love the idea of Kincaid taking a different approach to describing nature. In a way, she reminds me of the way the Chinese poets described nature as this beautiful place that no one takes the time to explore. The conversational voice from Kincaid allows the reader to actually close thier eyes and envision everything that she is describing and I like the way you pointed that out. I also agree with you when you state that nature almost seems unreal. The way Kincaid describes all the surrounding in Antigua sounds, just she said, like sets from a stage play. Good job Ja’lessa.

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