Seeing England For the First Time

786 Words4 Pages
On Seeing England for the First Time

The effect of imperialism on small colonies is sometimes intrusive and constrained. Jamaica Kincaid devotes her essay, Seeing England for the First Time, to her profound mysticism she has towards England as she grows up on the island of Antigua before it becomes an independent country. With descriptive language, Kincaid reveals her frustration for England within the classroom and at her home through use of imagery and satire. The earliest memories of England Kincaid has is when she was in school as a child. Kincaid opens her essay with sarcasm by saying that England looks “[gentle, beautiful, delicate, like] a very special jewel; [laying] on a bed of sky blue- the backdrop of the map- its
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However, being ruled by England, the educational curriculum teaches that England is a place where people got “a sense of what’s meaningful [and] meaningless”, proving that England people are brainwashed to falsely think that a country like England is also a place of virtue. Kincaid’s frustration roots from seeing people be infatuated with England when in reality, England is invasive, disrespectful, and mendacious. Although Kincaid sees England for the first time in the classroom, English culture is all around her, even in her home. Each morning before she leaves for school, Kincaid describes eating “a breakfast of half a grapefruit, a bowl of oat porridge, bread and butter and a slice of cheese, and a cup of cocoa”. Even with the food she eats, Kincaid is showing how her life is closely intertwined with the English lifestyle. The lengthy description of her typical morning meal mocks the lavish English lifestyle and proves that her life is heavily influenced by English customs. She describes each box or article of clothing to have “Made in England” labeled on it, which plays as an ironic, subtle reminder that while Kincaid and her family live in a colony owned by England, they do not
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