Autobiography post 1

December 8th, 2010

A Small Place and Native Guard

Posted by Tricia Zephyr in Uncategorized

A Small Place is Jamaica Kincaid’s autobiography which enables us to see what the experience must be like to be from an island. A Small Place begins with, ” If you go to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see.”¬† Kincaid places herself as some sort of tour guide, perhaps to provide some sort of distance form the place she once called home. Kincaid writes, Do you know why people like me are shy about being capitalist? Well it’s because we, for as long as we have known you, were capital, like bales of cotton and sacks of sugar, and you were the commanding, cruel capitalist, and the memory of this is so strong, the experience so recent, that we can’t quite bring ourselves to embrace this idea that you think so much of.”( p. 36-37) Here Kincaid refers to her geographic location when describing her sense of identity. She is from Antigua, and island where slaves were brought over so they can work plantations and cut down sugar cane and crop. In the quote listed above, she indirectly¬†refers to her geographic location, but directly relates to her ancestors.

Natasha Thretheway does something similar in Native Guard. One example which is similar to what Kincaid does is in the poem “Scenes from a documentary History of Mississippi.”¬† This poem was written by the speaker in 1907, but was written by Natasha Tretheway. It is known that Tretheway was not around in 1907, so she does not have that first hand experience, but she writes “The History of Mississippi” to relate to the people before her. She too is from Mississippi, and this poem is ancestral history in which she does not identify with, but understands. Her ancestral past makes her who she is.

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