Study Guide

A Small Place Chapter 2

By Jamaica Kincaid

Chapter 2

  • The Antigua that the narrator grew up in "no longer exists" (2.1). She means this in more ways than one, since at the time, the country was still under British rule.
  • One of the most prominent institutions at the time was Barclays Bank on High Street. Although the Barclay family now owns banks, they originally earned their fortune through the slave trade. Gross. In a deeply upsetting irony, they now make even more money by offering bad loans to the descendants of the people they kidnapped and sold.
  • Another prominent institution is the Mill Reef Club, a social club owned by wealthy vacationing Americans. Black Antiguans were denied entry (except as staff) for a very long time.
  • The Antiguans are mistreated by just about every outsider that arrives. There's this one doctor—a Czech immigrant—who "would send his wife to inspect" (2.3) Antiguans before he would treat them. You'd think that a guy who ran away from Hitler might take a stand against discrimination, but nope.
  • For their part, the Antiguan people are less offended by the clearly racist connotations of these actions than people's simple rudeness. After all, aren't Europeans supposed to be civilized?
  • The narrator, on the other hand, is filled with rage by these memories, as well as by the injustices that continue to the present day.
  • She blames imperialists for oppressing local populations and, in many cases, enslaving them, and she connects these human rights crimes to the capitalist system that still runs the world today.

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