Marxist Criticism In A Small Place By Jamaica Kincaid

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Controlled Research Paper Jamaica Kincaid’s intent when writing her controversial essay, A Small Place, could have been any number of things. It could be to bring awareness to the struggles the citizens of Antigua face everyday; it could be a way to release all the frustration and anger she has acquired through living in Antigua all those years; or it could be interpreted as a way to bring shame to the people whose ancestors put Kincaid and her fellow Antiguans in their current situation. In order to grasp meaning from Kincaid’s long essay it helps to examine it through the Marxist, Feminist and Post-Colonial lenses. The Marxist view looks at a piece of literature by examining the struggle between upper, middle and lower classes through the basis of economics. To study the Marxist lens one must look for the oppression of a lower class. In A Small Place Jamaica Kincaid depicts a poverty stricken Antigua run by wealthy businessmen and corrupt politicians. Kincaid describes how the Antiguan cars do not even run on the correct fuel as shown in this quote, “They use leaded gasoline in these brand-new cars whose engines were built to use non-leaded gasoline,” (Kincaid 6). The author uses a library that was never rebuilt as a symbol of the hopeless incompetence of the Antiguan government. There is a clear divide between the upper and lower classes. The wealthy are mostly European businessmen and drug dealers who occupy the largest houses on the island. “Not far from this mansion
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