“A People to Mold, A Nation to Build”-European Colonization in a A Small Place “Antigua is a small place, a small island,” nine by twelve miles long, discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 (Kincaid, 80). Europeans later settled on the island along with the slaves they imported. In A Small Place, Kincaid described the Europeans as “Human rubbish,” who took “noble and exalted human beings from Africa” to enslave them (80). She made no effort to conceal her thoughts about the little island consumed by the after effects of colonialism.
Driven by anger and resentment toward Antiqua’s British implemented culture, Kincaid explored he intricacy of the after effects of colonialism. For Kincaid, the aftermath of colonialism were manifested through the corruption of the government and the aloofness of Antiguans. Only Kincaid can simultaneously reveal the aesthetic elegance of Antigua’s beaches, while revealing it’s disastrous and shadowy past. She is very bitter about the corruption of the government and makes various references throughout her book that bluntly describes how corrupt it truly is.
She believes that the master slave system of a government was led by colonialism which influenced civic lifestyle on the island. She expressed her anger oward the colonists for colonizing the small island, turning it into England and turning everyone they met into English (24). She blamed Antigua’s past and present government for the corruption and devastation being experienced by the current population. She says, “Have you ever wonder to yourself why it is that all people like me seem to have learned from you is how to imprison and murder each other, how to govern badly…?
Have you ever wondered why it is that all we seem to have learned from you is how to corrupt our societies and how to be tyrants? ” (Kincaid, 34). Kincaid wanted the colonist to realize it is y their own faults and their imperfections, that Antigua is in the state that is in now. The colonist left and now they watched from afar what Antiguan’s were doing to themselves as they had done to them. Kincaid also believed that colonialism and political corruption has defrauded Antigua of many rights, such as the right to knowledge.
She believed that the Ministers of Antigua gained knowledge to govern from the “Il-mannered” British who paved they way for them (34). Throughout her book she has made it very clear that that library is an important source of knowledge for her as it should be for other Antiguan’s s well. On page 48, we found out that St. John, the largest city and capital in Antigua, would be developed into a shops and boutiques instead of the restoration of the only library that was damaged. When Kincaid learned of this information she was very wroth.
There was clearly a disregard of morals for educating within the country; instead the government was more concerned about renovating for economic boost by attracting outsiders (tourists). To make matters worst, Kincaid found out that the person who stirred up the idea was a foreigner “who was wanted for swindling a government out f oil profits, a man o notorious that he cannot travel with a pass port form the country of which he is a citizen. ” (Kincaid, 40). As a result of British influence, Antigua was unable to stand on its’ motto, “A People to Mold, A Nation to Build,” voiding it of its own culture.
The lack of good health care is another good example of the corruption of government. Kincaid asked the tourists a hypothetical question, “What if you heartbeat should miss a few beats” while you are on your holiday in Antigua? Would you be comforted to know that the hospital is staffed with doctors that no actual Antiguan trust”(8)? She goes on to tell the readers that no one trusts the doctors in Antigua, not even the Minister of Health. In fact when he become sick he takes the “first plane to New York to see a real doctor” (Kincaid, 80).
If any one of the ministers were to get sick, they did the same. The Island’s lack of proper sanitation and healthcare is disheartening to Kincaid. There is clearly a lack of bio-ethical and public policy concern for the citizen of Antigua, because there were no other hospitals. It is not as if the government does not know about the issue. They decided to sweep it under the rug because they are able to send hemselves and their families to a “real” doctor when they came ill. Kincaid is also upset toward her fellow Antiguan’s for not attaining their independence to the fullest extent.
She believed that, “The people in a small place cannot give an exact account, a complete account, of themselves” ( 53). She was convinced that they were culture less, without identity, and in a state of current crisis because of the actions of colonialism and self- serving government. From Kincaid perspective Antiguans are taught to be servants in the hotel business. She believes these are good quality citizens of Antigua, however due to their lack in ducation and scanty economical status, they have fallen into the perils of the conglomerate of tourism; which is in some sense is present day slavery.
These citizens were not able to make an advancement in life because of colonialism, the unscrupulousness and dishonesty of the government; depriving them of everything such as libraries and their culture. When addressing the citizens of Antigua, Kincaid regards them as having no sense of time or context. “They have no big historical moment to compare the way they are not to the way they use to be” (Kincaid, 79). Antiguans on the other hand, are not so uch living in the past because “the division of Time into the Past, the Present, and the Future does not exist” in a small place (54).
People in a place are not concerned with myths, for they have none. According to Kincaid the English have caused this ‘rootlesness’. She writes: “what I see is the millions of people, of whom I am just one, made orphans: no motherland, no fatherland, no gods, no mounds of earth for holy ground… ” (31). Essentially, Kincaid blames both the aloofness of citizen of Antigua and the aftermath of colonialism for its lack of culture. History cannot always be told in a positive light and Kincaid ives us a great example this.
Throughout her book she conveyed her thoughts, in a rancorous and sardonic tone. However, some of us may be able to identify with Kincaid, and understand her anger towards the world as she reflects deeply about life in Antigua. Antigua’s poverty was often highlighted by the lavishness of the few rich citizens, who were more often politicians. I liked how Kincaid drew the readers in through the tourist eyes as she painted the big picture. She painted an attractive scenery through the eyes of Antigua’s tourist, but then stains the picture with painstaking issues that most tourists isregard.
For example, the glitches in the health care system, the horrible road condition, the poorly constructed home, or the open latrines. Instead, they are concentrating on the lavishness of the blue ocean, and the pink beaches. It is not through warfare that Kincaid places blame but through militancy but through strongly pointed fingers. validity or urgency of her work “there is a certain element of escapism at work here; the tourist goes away to this idyllic place to forget about the stress and inequality at home. but guess what? there’s stress and inequality there too.