Study Guide

A Small Place Foreignness and 'The Other'

By Jamaica Kincaid

Foreignness and 'The Other'

Ah, the life of a tourist… There's nothing better than exploring an exotic locale, right? But have you ever thought about what it feels like to be on the other side of the equation? In A Small Place, we get a glimpse of the world from the eyes of someone born and raised in a tourist destination, and the results aren't pretty—we're talking racial discrimination and outsiders conspiring with corrupt government officials. So while we're positioned as outsiders in this book, it quickly becomes clear that the people being treated as "other" are the Antiguan people themselves. Ugh.

Questions About Foreignness and 'The Other'

  1. Why are tourists bad people, in Kincaid's eyes?
  2. Why are Antiguans more suspicious of people from the Middle East than people from the U.S. and Europe?
  3. What could the British colonialists have done to make Antiguans feel less like "others"?
  4. How is a distrust of foreigners related to racism?

Chew on This

In Kincaid's eyes, tourists are bad people because they are essentially rubbing their wealth in poor peoples' faces.

By viewing natives as the "other," tourists dehumanize them and deny them individual identities.

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