Study Guide

A Small Place What's Up With the Ending?

By Jamaica Kincaid

What's Up With the Ending?

A Small Place is not your typical novel; it contains no plot, no cast of characters, and very few fleshed-out scenes. Instead, the book engages the reader directly in an attempt to foster some sort of understanding—the reader is the one going on the journey, not the characters.

So it makes sense that the book closes with a brief chapter extolling the beauty of Antigua. It's this beauty that makes the island so desired by so many powerful people, and that draws tourists back time and again. And it's this beauty that fosters a "strange, unusual perception of time" (1.3) amongst the Antiguan people.

Antiguans know that "the unreal way in which it is beautiful now is the unreal way in which it was always beautiful" (4.1). Although some things have changed, the island itself—and the lives they live on it—haven't changed much of the past hundred years. Who's to say that there are any changes coming in the future?

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