Study Guide

A Small Place Plot Analysis

By Jamaica Kincaid

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Plot Analysis


Cleared for Landing

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have just touched down in Antigua, a small Caribbean island with tons of corruption and some nasty history. You don't know much about that, though—you're just a tourist looking to blow off some steam in an exotic location. It's time to treat yo self

Rising Action

Terrible Tourists

Kincaid takes you on a mini-tour of her home country. Instead of showing you the sights, though, she explains (in detail) how much you are hurting Antigua with your presence. Plus, the people of Antigua hate you because it feels like you're rubbing your wealth in their faces. Yikes.


Learning Your History

Kincaid shifts her tone a bit: Instead of critiquing the tourist for his/her ignorant actions, she decides to explain the historical reasons why Antigua is in such rough shape. These reasons include the legacy of slavery and colonialism, rampant government corruption, and the hidden costs of the tourism industry.

Falling Action

Getting Personal

We learn even more about Antigua's struggles when Kincaid talks about trying to rebuild the old Antigua Public Library. No matter how hard she tries, she can't get any wealthy people to support her plan. This becomes a metaphor for the larger issues holding Antigua back from reaching its potential.


Forever a Small Place

We're left with the idea that Antigua doesn't change. The people who have lived there have gone through all sorts of struggles, but the island remains largely the same—a.k.a. super beautiful—and will remain so for the future.

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