Exposing the Ugliness of Tourism in Jamaica Kincaid's Book, A Small Place

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Jamaica Kincaid addresses the reader as a tourist in her book A Small Place. Throughout the book her sarcasm and resentment towards the postcolonial state of the country cannot be missed. She exposes the “ugliness” of tourism, she writes, “The thing you have always suspected about yourself the minute you become a tourist is true: A tourist is an ugly human being” (14). Kincaid points to the fact that the tourists (European and American) and the tourism industry are morally ugly. The first section of her book displays how tourism uses the natives and the country as sources of pleasure for the tourists as they make their way to their hotel, they watch in awe at the condition of the country. Kincaid writes, “They [Antiguans] are too poor to escape the reality of their lives; and they are too poor to live properly in the place where they live, which is the very place you, the tourist, want to go—they envy your ability to turn their own banality and boredom into a source of pleasure for yourself” (19). The tourists do not see, and perhaps do not want to see the reality of this picturesque island they are vacationing on. Kincaid writes, “[Y]ou needn’t let that slightly funny feeling you have from time to time about exploitation, oppression, domination develop into full-fledged unease, discomfort; you could ruin your holiday” (10). This mirrors the mindset of not only tourists, but of the past and current exploiters who do not see the suffering and damage they cause, but
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