An Analysis Of Lucy: A Novel By Jamaica Kincaid

Pages: 4 (849 words) Published: March 1, 2018


In the passage from Lucy: A Novel, by Jamaica Kincaid the narrator dramatizes the conflict between her desire to escape and her fear of the unknown. In the new situation she finds herself in, the narrator finds herself confronting an unknown environment, an unknown future, and unknown emotions. All of these question marks in her life force the narrator to instead reflect inward into her own sense of self and question her most basic perceptions of her place in the world. Ultimately, these factors come together for her to have the epiphany that she was “no longer in the tropical zone” (line 36), a realization that basically leaves her not knowing where she truly stands in the mess of life.
The passage begins with the narrator being astonished...

The narrator laments that the thought of escaping to her present situation no longer consoled her because she “did not even have this to look forward to” (line 22). This forces the narrator to reflect on the underlying motivations driving her to act. Up to this point, it had been a desire to escape her life and find a better one elsewhere. Yet, she now feels unsure after she has accomplished that goal. She even describes her future as “a large gray patch surrounded by black, blacker, and blackest” (lines 58-59). This key line puts a stop to the thing that pushed her forward all this time—the hope for a better future. By destroying this fundamental part of her character, the narrator inevitably must find a new motivation to move forward and continue progression on the stairway of life. However, before she reaches that point, she reflects on whether looking towards the future truly is always better than living in the past. She does this by painting her past as “familiar and predictable” (line 40) solid ground, while her future is an “overcast seascape” (line 42) with seemingly no hope for progress. This metaphor pushes the narrator to find out what motivates her—hope for the future or longing for the...
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