A Small Place

Major ideas

Tourism as a neo-colonial structure

In the first section of A Small Place, Kincaid employs the perspective of the tourist in order to demonstrate the inherent escapism in creating a distance from the realities of a visited place. Nadine Dolby dissects the theme of tourism in A Small Place and places Kincaid's depiction of tourism in a globalized context that justifies Kincaid's strong feelings toward it.[5] Dolby corroborates Kincaid's depiction of the tourist creating separation by "othering" the locale and the individuals that inhabit it. Furthermore, the tourist industry is linked to a global economic system that ultimately does not translate into benefits for the very Antiguans who enable it.

The tourist may experience the beauty on the surface of Antigua while being wholly ignorant of the actual political and social conditions that the Antiguan tourism industry epitomizes and reinforces.[6] Corinna Mcleod points out the disenfranchising nature of the tourism industry in its reinforcement of an exploitative power structure. In effect, the industry recolonizes Antigua by placing locals at a disenfranchised and subservient position in a global economic system that ultimately does not serve them.[7]

Racism and legacies of colonialism

While Kincaid expresses anger towards slavery, colonialism and the broken Antiguan identity that it has left in its wake, she avoids retreating to simple racialization in order to explain the past and present, for doing so would further "other" an already marginalized group of people.[6] Kincaid sheds light on the oppressive hierarchical structures of colonialism, which is still evident in the learned power structures of present-day, post-colonial Antigua.

While she indeed acknowledges the justifications of oppression based on race in England's colonization of Antigua, she also attempts to transcend the notions of an inescapable racialized past. In doing so she attempts to shape readers’ view of Antigua by creating a sense of agency.[6]


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