Study Guide

A Small Place Language and Communication

By Jamaica Kincaid

Language and Communication

You can't blame Kincaid for being obsessed with the power of language. She is a writer, after all. Over the course of A Small Place, we learn how language can be used for good and for evil, to help people rise up or to crush their spirits. Sounds like heady stuff, right? Well, have no fear, because Shmoop is here to make these mental gymnastics as easy to swallow as an ice cream sundae. Now that's speaking our language.

Questions About Language and Communication

  1. How did the English use language to control Antigua?
  2. Why do modern Antiguans communicate more poorly than those of Kincaid's generation?
  3. Why does the narrator resent the fact that English is her native language?
  4. What communication barriers exist between tourists and natives?

Chew on This

The narrator resents the English because they wiped out her people's native culture and, more importantly, their language.

Although the narrator hates the English, the one thing she respects about them is their love of language.

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