A Small Place is a memoir as well as an essay. It is also an example of travel writing and a personal history.


The narrator is Jamaica Kincaid, the author, who gives a highly personal history of her home, the Caribbean island of Antigua.

Point of View

Everything in A Small Place, even the historical text, is filtered through Kincaid’s subjective, personal point of view and is thus mostly told in the first person. One of Kincaid’s most distinctive devices is to address the reader directly, as “you,” even narrating the hypothetical experiences the reader has on visiting Antigua. She therefore also makes extensive use of the second-person point of view.


Kincaid’s tone is usually bitter and sarcastic, especially when dealing with Antigua’s colonial past and tourist-driven present. There are more tender moments of melancholy throughout. However, anger is the prevailing mood.


Kincaid focuses mostly on the present state of Antigua, shifting into the past tense for her historical discussions.

Setting (Time & Place)

The setting of A Small Place is contemporary to the time is was published (1988). It is set in Antigua, a small island in the Caribbean.