Antigua, a small majestic island that sits in the Caribbean Sea is not what it seems like.
A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid is a creative nonfiction story that gives readers a first-hand account of living in Antigua. In the first chapter, the author uses the perspective of a naive tourist to point out social injustices Antiguans live with. The author deeply expresses her anger and resentment toward tourists who are too ignorant to see the problems of the small island. The use of an angry and resentful tone throughout the chapter allows readers to comprehend the privileges that come with being a tourist.
Kincaid is puzzled by tourists’ choice to leave the comfort of their life to visit Antigua who native Antiguans do not consider a paradise. Kincaid expresses her anger toward tourists as she states, “the banality of your life is very real to you; it drove you to this extreme, spending your days and nights in the company of people who despise you, people you do not like really, people you would not want to have as your actual neighbor” (Kincaid 18). Kincaid makes this statement to point out tourism is not welcomed in Antigua. Even though, tourism can be beneficial to local economies it only brings desensitize tourists to Antigua who do not understand the issues Antiguans face. Kincaid expresses that the tourists are disconnected and distant people who are only there to meet their needs. As a result, it only angers the author who wishes tourists notice the injustices the native population are facing. Furthermore, the tone of anger in the statement allows the author to shame tourists to open their eyes to the privilege they have as a tourist. For example, tourists have the ability to escape their reality for a short period of time, while native Antiguans do not have the opportunity to do the same due to constantly being oppressed.
Therefore, Kincaid is only amazed by the tourists choice to visit Antigua who are not welcomed on the island.The author is resentful toward tourists who do not understand they face better treatment by the government than native Antiguans. When tourists arrive at the airport, Kincaid explains ” Since you are a tourist, a North American or European – to be frank, white .
. . you move through customs swiftly, you move through customs with ease. Your bags are not searched” (Kincaid 4). The author points this out to show that most tourists are white who are given special treatment the moment they set foot in Antigua. Correspondingly, this builds the notion that native Antiguans are there to serve tourists to make their trip a memorable one. In contrast, native Antiguans are not given any special treatment but instead are forgotten by their government.
For instance, Antiguans are still waiting for the libraries’ repair after going through an earthquake which was an important building that made books accessible. This only makes Antiguans feel forgotten by their own government and are only left with the hope of a better future. In addition, Kincaid points out the frustration she has with the government who would prefer to treat foreigner better than its’ people. The author envies this special treatment given to tourist who would instead wish it would be given to native Antiguans who been mistreated for years. Therefore, Kincaid uses a resentful tone to convince readers about the privileges tourists have while visiting Antigua. The author continuously reveals her strong emotions against tourist since they do not comprehend that taking a vacation is something not everyone gets to do. According to Kincaid “they are too poor to escape the reality of their lives .
. . they envy your ability to turn their own beauty and boredom into a source of pleasure for yourself” (Kincaid 19). Kincaid expresses this to reveal to readers that Antiguans are not privileged enough to leave their reality that is filled with many hardships. Antiguans cannot even enjoy the island like tourists do, let alone go to another country to become a tourist. For example, Native Antiguans have to worry about things like poverty, corruption, and safety on their island, so taking a vacation is the last thing on their mind.
This is one of the main reasons why native Antiguans envy fortunate tourists. As a result, Kincaid effective use of a resentful tone toward tourist allows readers to notice the privileged tourist do not think about the Antiguans’ struggles. Instead, tourists should be grateful they have to the time and money to escape their reality, which is something Antiguans cannot do. Therefore, Kincaid use of strong emotion towards tourists allows readers to reflect on the privileges that come with being a tourist.In conclusion, the use of an angry and resentful tone throughout the chapter allows Kincaid to help readers understand the privilege that comes with being a tourist.
Many tourists visit Antigua but almost all fail to see the real Antigua and its tragic reality. It only frustrates the author trying to make people, including tourists, realize the real conditions of Antigua. Kincaid wants tourists to know that Antiguans are continually dealing with social injustices that are not escapable for Antiguans. Also, the authors want readers to understand how unfortunate it is to see tourists face better treatment compared to natives which anger the authors who wish the same treatment can be given to them. Kincaid expresses resentment toward tourist who wants them to understand that being a tourist is not imaginable for many in the island.