Jamaica Kincaid

original site: http://www.reno.quik.com/kenm/jam~1.htm


Author Jamaica Kincaid was born in 1949 on the island of Antigua. Then, Elaine Potter Richardson, left the island for New York in 1965, and changed her name in 1973 when her first articles were published. When asked why she did not change her name to an African name, Kincaid replied "the connection I have to Africa is the color of my skin and that doesn't seem enough to have changed it to an African name." As for her new name, "Jamaica is an English corruption of what Columbus called Xaymaca." This renaming is a theme in Kincaids works both fiction and non-fiction. According to Kincaid, renaming is a metaphor for conquest and colonial domination. Reading her work A Small Place one can learn of the history of Antigua, and how the natives really feel about tourists. Kincaid points out all of the beautiful sites on Antigua that the tourist will see like the waters, sunsets, and skies. In extreme contrast though Kincaid also points out the corrupt government, brokedown schoolhouse, and makeshift hospital that the tourist does not see. It is very clear from her works that Kincaid feels strongly against colonialism, development, and industry, on her home island of Antigua, and would much rather see the natives be left alone to their customs.


Antigua is a nine-by-twelve-mile island in the British West Indies. The natural beauty of the island is spectacular and behind the beautiful landscape is breathtaking. Breathtaking, as in, it will take your breath away when you hear of the horrible things that go on behind the tourist scene. Most of the population on Antigua is poor, and the education is almost non-existant. As companies come in and build, the island becomes even more and more corrupt, and further away from the beautiful, natural place that it once was.

Sam Walton

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Last updated by Ken Morin on 12/12/97