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Lucas Enrique Fernandez

A Small Place – Jamaica Kincaid

Vituperation: Colonialism

In the second passage of Jamaica Kincaid’s book¬†The Small Place¬†the past of Antigua, along with the lingering ties of England’s colonialism is explored. This section perfectly expresses the pain and anger caused by this colonialism which may in fact be immeasurable.

 

They don’t seem to know that this empire business was all wrong and they should, at least, be wearing sackcloth and ashes in token penance of the wrongs committed, the irrevocableness of their bad deeds, for no natural disaster imaginable could equal the harm they did. Actual death might have been better.

Colonialism is a horrible practice that occurred across the globe by many European nations. These nations decided that their own self-interests and greed were more valuable than the lives of the indigenous people of which they stole resources, land, and people. They displaced, raped, enslaved, and oppressed people in order to profit and feel superior to others. Kincaid rightfully says that the people of these empires committed wrongs that were irrevocable in nature and atrocious acts that they should be repenting.

It was built by some people who wanted to live in Antigua and spend all their holidays in Antigua but who seemed not to like Antiguans (black people)

In another portion of the section, Kincaid touches upon a paradox where colonizers want to live in the area of a certain culture and love everything about it, except for the people that live there. In Antigua this is exemplified with a club that would not allow Antiguans inside unless they were servants. An Antiguan being served a sandwich from there was such a big deal that everyone knew the name of the Antiguan and the day of which this transpired. This shows the cruel reality of how many times native people can be on the short-end of the travel industry. People will want to go somewhere but not interact with the people; or people will build an attraction in an area but not open it up to locals or allow them to reap any profits from it.

The only language I have in which to speak of this crime is the language of the criminal who committed the crime

This section from the book highlights a sad consequence of colonialism. Colonialism often causes for people of certain cultures to lose some of themselves, in this case their language, as they are forced to assimilate to the cultures of their colonizers. This is not the only example of this either, a major part of colonialism is the erasure of different people’s cultures. It is a horrifying truth and the pain felt from colonialism has passed down generations, as highlighted by Kincaid.

 

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