A Small Place

by: Jamaica Kincaid

Important Quotations Explained

1. [A]nd so you 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.

Taken from the first section of A Small Place, this passage is an example of Kincaid’s direct address to the reader, as well as her sarcastic tone. The kind of reader Kincaid has in mind is likely to be well-educated enough to have some idea of the colonial history, and present difficulties, of a place like Antigua, but is just as likely to suppress such knowledge for comfort’s sake, in order not to “ruin their holiday.” One of Kincaid’s primary intentions is to make such complacency impossible. An important weapon in her arsenal is the kind of classic rhetorical device she uses here: an anticlimax. In comparison to the grand political and moral issues she references—“exploitation, oppression, domination”—the reader’s concern for an unspoiled tropical vacation is bound to seem petty and rather squalid. The “funny feeling” she wants to gain access to is the reader’s conscience.