Jamaica Kincaid was born May 25, 1949 under the name Elaine Potter Richardson. She was born in St. John's, Antigua, which is part of the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda. Kincaid’s mother was an at home mother and a political activist. Kincaid was very close to her mother. Her step father was a carpenter and a cabinetmaker, but she never knew her biological father. Kincaid’s parents felt that education was essential and they educated her under the British educational system. She was a very intelligent child and later was awarded a scholarship to the Princess Margaret School in St. John’s, Antigua. The emotional onset of her teenage years, as well as the rigid control of a British colonial education system, heightened Kincaid's sense of isolation.
Kincaid, while being considered brilliant by her teachers, was also labeled as troublesome and angry. It was at this instance in her young life when Kincaid started her retreat into reading and stealing books. She says: “When I was a child I liked to read. . . I didn't know anyone else who liked to read except my mother, and it got me in a lot of trouble because it made me into a thief and a liar. I stole books, and I stole money to buy them. . . Books brought me the greatest satisfaction. Just to be alone, reading, under the house with lizards and spiders running around."(Jamaica Kincaid)
Kincaid was the only child until she was nine but after the birth of her one of her three younger brothers her life changed forever. Once the center of her mother’s attention, Kincaid was now sidelined while her brothers became her parent’s main force. Not only did Kincaid feel neglected, but she felt as though her mother had betrayed her. At the age of 13, Jamaica’s mother pulled her out of school, her step father now becoming ill young Kincaid has to now to start helping her family financially. Four years later, Kincaid now 17, with a growing ambivalence for her family and a rising contempt for the subservience of the Antiguans to British colonialist rule. Her mother thought it would be best to send Kincaid to America where she could earn more money for working and later turn out to be a nurse.
My family ... My mother and step-father planned distinctive lives. My brothers were going to be gentlemen of achievement; one was going to be Prime Minister, one a doctor, one a Minister, things like that. I never heard anybody say that I was going to be anything except maybe a nurse. There was no huge future for me, nothing planned. In fact my education was so casually interrupted, my life might very well have been destroyed by that casual act that might have been what removing me from school might have been like if I hadn't intervened in my own life and pulled myself out of the water.
Feeling resentful and separated from her family once she got to America and began to work, but she refused to respond any communication with to her mother’s or send home any money. She then changed her...