Post on the Similarities between Jamaica Kincaid’s “A Small Place” and Natasha Tretheweay’s “Native Guard.”

 

In A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid in A Small Place, and Natasha Trethewey in Native Guard display the sense of personal identity which is connected with the geographic locations/places of their past and present as well. Both of these authors use their native land; Kincaid talks about Antigua; Trethewey, focuses on Mississippi to illustrate their identities. In A Small Place, we see that Kincaid uses British colonizing Antigua to reveal how her history has been deprived from her and how it has changed her. Her being as Antiguan has a tremendous impact on her identity. Throughout the book we see that she writes about the Antigua that she used to know, the Antigua where she grew up, shows that she is proud that she belongs to Antigua, where she grew up, so when British colonizers were colonizing Antigua, we see that it has tremendously effected Kincaid. We see how she became a different person after the colonization process of Antigua when she says, “Even if I really came from people who were living in trees, it was better to be that than what happened to me, what I became after I met you” (37). Then she continues that she is an orphan with no motherland or fatherland or tongue. It becomes really important to include her native Antigua and colonized Antigua in order to provide explanation of her fragmented identity. Throughout the essay, Kincaid displays that the Antigua that she sees now is not the same Antigua that was before. Everything is changed after the British colonizers took over by imposing their culture. Through her writing, it shows that Kincaid sees herself as a person who won’t adjust herself into the new culture of Antigua since there are painful memories when the colonizers took away their original culture. For Jamaica Kincaid, Antigua is her home, therefore, she addresses herself as a true Antiguan and throughout the essay she tells how it has a tremedous impact on shapeing her identity.

On the other hand, Natasha Tretheway in the Native Guard, expresses her identity differently by using her land. Since she is the mixture of both races, she constantly gives examples that represent Mississippi, a place where she grew up. She tells us that she was born to parents of different races;mother, black, father, white. I noticed that in the poem “Blond,” Tretheway states if her hair were blond, she could have been passed easily as white, which was the superior race at that time. Also another poem which talks about her identity is “Providence” which shows the pieces of her past and her childhood as well. This poem shows that her memories of her past and family are still part of the house that was floating in the water. Her memories of her family and her past still remain a part of the house that was now floating on water in stead of being on the ground. From this poem, a relationship between her identity and her house is shown which can lead us to think that house is a symbol for her own representation of her personal identity. In the poem, “South,” Tretheweay reconnects in a sense with her roots, even though the Mississippi that she had known before while growing up was no longer the same. The importance of Mississippi is shown when Tretheweay says “where that old flag still hangs, I return to Mississippi, state that made a crime of me-mulatto, half-breed-native in my native land, this place they’ll bury me” (46). It displays that this place will always remain a part of her life and her identity as well. The place that she had memories of growing up is now where she is able to see death, pain, suffering. Like Jamaica Kincaid’s identify is connected with Antigua, Trethwweay also shares her identity with Mississippi where she grew up.

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