My Garden

The Conqueror and Conquered: A Shift towards Mutual Development College

In her work, “To Name is to Possess”, the author, Jamaica Kincaid, vilifies the possessive mentality that has captured human minds for centuries. While disparaging this class of conquerors, Kincaid connects human conquest to our dominant relationship over nature. She then acknowledges her participation in the class by recognizing herself as a garden owner. On a deeper level, she wrestles with this identity. How does she negotiate between her intrinsic desire for ownership and the necessary respect for that which she owns? What significance does this negotiation hold?

She begins her critique of this conquering class with an example of human entitlement to the environment, allowing us to understand conquest in the context of gardening. Kincaid selects a passage from Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady. Rich with diction, it describes a life of comfort through the environment. The “little feast[s]” (114), “splendid afternoon[s]” (114), and “flood[s] of summer light” (114) communicate a sense of entitlement to the beauty and graces of nature. Kincaid elaborates on this later by describing the passage as something that “could have been written only by a person who comes from a place where wealth of the world is like skin, a natural...

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