Jamaica Kincaid Essay

Topics: English people, British Empire, United Kingdom Pages: 4 (936 words) Published: April 24, 2014
On Seeing England for the first Time
In the excerpt from the essay “On Seeing England for the first Time” the author Jamaica Kincaid describes life in Antigua when it was an English colony. Antigua was first colonized by English settlers in 1632 and achieved its independence until 1981. There was an immense British cultural influence in the island, which Kincaid shows in her essay. In the essay Kincaid reveals her defiance for England’s imposed presence in Antigua by comparing other’s conformity to England´s way of life to her own subtle defiance.

Throughout the essay Kincaid demonstrates England´s dominance in the small island. Kincaid says that as a kid she would have a typical English breakfast including oat porridge, bread, butter and cheese and cocoa, “The can of cocoa was often left on the table in front of me. It had written on it… Made in England.” The food they eat in the island and many of their products are made in England. This might seem like a very unusual breakfast to have in tropical weather, but eating the same food is a very effective way to socialize Antigua and have British culture and customs in their everyday life. Not only was the food English, so were her clothes, “The shoes I wore were made in England; so were my socks and cotton undergarments and the satin ribbons”. One of the reasons that empires have colonies is because they can make a lot of money out of it. They allow their colonies to only buy products from their countries in order to become more powerful, as can be seen by Kincaid´s English made clothes, the cars, and her breakfast being brought from England. Kincaid´s repetition of “England” shows how everything in the island is dominated by them. From the clothes they wear, to the food they eat, England can be seen everywhere in Antigua.

England´s culture has been so forced upon Antigua that its citizens simply accept these new ideals and go through life without even questioning it. When Kincaid´s teacher shows her...
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