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“A Small Place” Paradox



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    In this passage, Jamaica Kincaid articulates upon how foreign power vastly altered the lives of Antiguans, by affirming that they have been ripped away from their families and homeland. Kincaid uses word choice which exhibits her frustration toward the Antiguans, who cheers at “some frumpy, wrinkled-up person passing by in a carriage waving at the crowd. ” Kincaid juxtaposes Antiguans to orphans to further relate her feelings about the people of Antigua.

    To create a harsh tone consisting tragedy and misery, Kincaid uses heavy words and juxtaposition, as well as syntax. Through her word choice and literary devices Kincaid offers the readers insight on her feelings toward the Antiguan society. Kincaid is frustrated by the fact that Antiguans celebrate British holidays despite the unforgivable doings of the British colonialists. Kincaid expresses her feelings of hatred and sorrow through her choice of words. “Worse and most painful of all, no tongue. Kincaid uses the word tongue, the denotation of which means moveable part inside the mouth, or language. But the connotation of the word tongue means the linguistic power of Antiguans to be able to define themselves. Kincaid who regards culture and education important aspects of life chooses the word no tongue to share her feelings of distress to the reader, it causes the reader to think of Antiguans as pitiful people who had their language and culture stolen away from them.

    By using paradox, Kincaid is able to make the reader stop and reflect about how little the Antiguans realize about the world they are living in. “no excess of love which might lead to things that an excess of love sometimes brings,” suggests that people in Antigua are living in a delusion where they are constantly lied to. However, Kincaid sees past the illusion and is able to feel the necessity of language and culture to feel completely free. Kincaid uses syntax to create a mood of sorrowfulness and grief.

    By keeping the sentence length long and repeating words such as ‘no,’ readers start to feel anxious and is able to sense the pain Kincaid is going through and feel hatred towards the colonialists for stripping everything from the Antiguans. Kincaid effectively conveys her feelings of hatred toward the colonialists through the use of literary devices such as syntax and paradox which leaves the reader questioning the significance of language and the reflecting about the troubled lives of Antiguans.

    Kincaid, Jamaica. A Small Place. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1988. Print.

    “A Small Place” Paradox. (2017, Feb 28). Retrieved from

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