Childhood Experience In Lack, Part Two By Jamaica Kincaid

1144 Words5 Pages
In her essay “Lack, Part Two”, Jamaica Kincaid recounts her childhood experiences living in Antigua and how those experiences affected her life. She begins by focusing on the various things she did not have, such as electricity, plumbing, cars, and doctors, and how the absence of those things made life more difficult for her. For example, she describes how she contracted various illnesses, including typhoid fever, and almost died from them.
Kincaid doesn’t discuss her childhood difficulties as being solely bad – rather, she reminisces on them as part of a simpler, better time. Towards the end of the essay, she discusses how she longs for that sort of life, but can’t, and couldn’t, live it. In her own words, she “couldn’t actually afford [her] childhood then and [she] won’t be able to afford it now.” To give away her possessions, electricity, plumbing, and become more prone to diseases would “plunge [her] deeper into [her] own mental depression”. She then goes on to prescribe a name to her feelings – “Lack, Part Two”. But why is it part two? And how are they comparable? Kincaid’s childhood was full of lack – lack of electricity, plumbing, etc. – and thus could be considered “Lack, Part One”. By calling her current life “Part Two”, she’s drawing a parallel between it and her childhood. As a child, with few exceptions, she never really longed for things she didn’t have. While she sometimes did wish for and imagine a better situation – for example, more light to read by at night – she accepted the lack of these things as her reality. Her acceptance of her situation led her to be happy and satisfied with her life. Now, after moving to the United States and becoming well-off, she’s still happy and satisfied – perhaps even more so. But much like her childhood, she often imagines a different life – the life she had as a child, when things were simpler. Yet she knows it wasn’t all the perfect “Eden” she sometimes thinks of it as. Her lack of a nearby doctor, plumbing, and light at night causes her to accept that she couldn’t afford to live that life again. This lack of a simpler life mirrors her childhood lack of the privileges of living in a more developed world – and so is “Lack, Part Two”. It also further

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