Literature Into Film Essay

940 words - 4 pages

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 only see how it benefits them being financially or leisurely pleasure.
Kincaid explains what led to the country’s present condition starting with the British colonizers then leading to how even after independence the new government instead of leading the country out of corruption modeled their government just as the colonial powers had. This further oppresses the country and its people. She writes, “Have you ever wondered to yourself why it is that all people like me seem to have learned from you is how to imprison and murder each other, how to govern badly, and how to take the wealth of our country and place it in Swiss bank accounts? Have you ever wondered why it is that all we seem to have learned from you is how to corrupt our societies and how to be tyrants? You will have to accept that this is mostly your fault” (34-35). The governments are for sale, partly because they need money for the country but mostly because of the exploitive nature that exists with the present day officials.
The book is about Kincaid’s home Antigua, but surely one can replace “Antigua” with any country that was once colonized by the European empire. This is what Stephanie Black does in the film Life and...

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