The winter season has finally come. You have been waiting all year for the frigid temperatures of December so you can take a vacation and relax in a warmer climate. It is heaven just picturing it in your mind: sandy beaches, tropical drinks, and the sound of the ocean in the background. All of your colleagues will be jealous of your suntan when you return, and when you do, you must become disillusioned because your vacation is now over, and you have to live your life the way you left it before hiding it all away while on your vacation. As a tourist you make sure that everything is said and done, all of the tours have been taken, and all of the markets have been shopped in.
But, how does the other side feel? How do the people feel of the country you are visiting, since they live like this 365 days of the year? In the essay “A Small Place” by Jamaica Kincaid, she explains to her readers how tourists affect the lives of the citizens of the country Antigua. Along with Mutabaruka and his poem, “dis poem”, show how his country has been stereotyped. These two authors want to inform their readers that their countries are much more then what people generalize them to be. I have never been to the Caribbean and I will not lie when I say this, but I followed along with the generalizations. As I stated in the introduction, .”.. sandy beaches, tropical drinks, and the sound of the ocean in the background” is the picture I get when I think of the Caribbean.
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Now that I have read works from citizens of Caribbean countries, I am now informed of how the citizens of Antigua and Jamaica really feel about tourists’s tereotypes and I look at these countries in a whole new light. From the first chapter of Kincaid’s essay she goes on a rant about how her people drive around very expensive Japanese cars, but fuel them with the wrong type of gas, which in turn, ruins the car. Also, that their houses are worth less than what the car is actually worth. This is how these people have to live, but the tourists do not really understand why. She also talks about the people who have lived in Antigua all their life, and how their ancestors lived there.
“The people in Antigua now, the people who really think of themselves as Antiguans are the descendants of those noble and exalted people, the slaves.” , (80-81) and even though some people today do not like living in Antigua, the true citizens of the country and true Antiguans. On a different view of the same subject, Mutabaruka writes about generalizations, not tourism, but the same point gets across to the reader after he has written, “dis poem will not change things/ dis poem need to be changed/ dis poem is a rebirth of a people” (323).
He writes these words to show the reader that after someone has been informed, they can read the poem from a different point-of-view. I believe that these three examples justify completely with Kincaid’s strategy, which I think is: inform the reader and change their perspective. After that has been done, the reader can feel what the author is writing and not just pass over it like an unimportant piece of information. Jamaica Kincaid and Mutabaruka just want their stories to be told strait.
They want the generalizations to stop so that their readers are able to fully understand the words they have written. If every single tourist were like the one in Kincaid’s essay, to travel to Antigua for the climate and not to learn more about the culture, I would write an essay about the “ugly tourists” also. And if all people were as ignorant as Mutabaruka writes them to be in his poem, I would also write a poem about all of the ignorant people I come across. These stereotypes are never going to come to an end, but if they were never there in the first place, this poem and essay would never have been written. As for the readers, we are now all informed as to how the people of these countries actually feel about tourism. Even though it may be a small percent, these authors would be happy to know that all tourists are not like the ones they have described, and that some people want to learn more about their countries.
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If I were Kincaid or Mutabaruka, I would be content just knowing that somebody out in this world knows how I feel, and would stop generalizing and try to change the way they looked at my country.