Study Guide

A Small Place Slavery

By Jamaica Kincaid

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The shadow of slavery hangs heavy over the events of A Small Place. Although the Antiguan people have been emancipated for generations, their past still weighs heavily on their present. Many Antiguans are proud of their people for overcoming slavery, many are still angry about injustices never made right, and many can't see the ways that the institution still continues, in subtler ways, in the present day. Although subjects as grim as slavery aren't exactly fun to read about, learning about the past can hopefully help us improve the present.

Questions About Slavery

  1. What is the connection between slavery and the hotel training school? How about to the destroyed library?
  2. What does the story of the Barclay brothers tell us about slavery in Antigua?
  3. Do you agree with Kincaid that slavery made the West rich? Explain your answer.
  4. How does Kincaid link capitalism with slavery?

Chew on This

Kincaid argues that the institution of slavery is—in many ways—the predecessor to the modern capitalist system.

If there's one thing that Kincaid criticizes the Antiguan people for, it's their inability to see how slavery (in other names) persists to the present-day.

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