Displeasure Towards England in on Seeing England for the First Time by Jamaica Kincaid
In the essay, On Seeing England for the First Time, Jamaica Kincaid gives off a tone of being conquered, yet resistant to the power of the English. Kincaid attracts the reader by writing about a different array of issues and we are able to see her journey of realization and reflection upon the power she is under. Kincaid describes to the reader her attitude towards England by displaying the effects that colonialism has had on her country and family. Kincaid gives off the effects of the English power by using metaphors, and symbols to show her displeasure towards England.
Kincaid uses metaphors and allusions to attack England’s effect of colonialism on not only the people in her island, but anyone who has been under any type of colonialism. Growing up in Antigua, Kincaid claims that only natural born British are a sort of “special jewel.” Such a jewel was worn by the English as badge of honor, “in jungles, in deserts, on plains, all the oceans… in places they were not welcomed.” However, no jewel for the “brainwashed” people who were colonized by these people. Her teacher then acts as if Britain is Jerusalem as it is a, “place you will go to when you die but only if you have been good.” By referring to the crusades, Kincaid states again how that all the “true” English already get the “privilege” to die there and the colonists must earn the right to be English.
When it comes to style in the essay, Kincaid uses her angry tone to mock and downplay the huge rule of the British. Her hatred is shown when she compares England to a “jail” or oddly enough, “a leg of mutton.” Kincaid starts off the first paragraph introducing her tone that she uses throughout the essay. Kincaid also uses many long-lasting, heartfelt sentences that match the hatred and disgust she has towards England. Kincaid not only describes to us her displeasure of England, but also gets the reader to feel the same hatred that she feels. Her use of sarcasm, such as depicting England as “a special jewel… only special people get to wear…” shows her neglect towards the ‘jewel’ that England is and takes away the “glamour” and “respect” that England gives itself. In Kincaid’s world, England is far a “jewel” and she references small things that support her point of view in order to draw the reader into her world of hatred towards this ruling country that has changed her in ways she never wanted to.
In a way, I can see where Kincaid is coming from. Being a descendent of immigrants in the United States is not something that is taken lightly here. I am looked down upon for the color of my skin, for the language that I speak with to my family, for the way that I live, for where I live. I completely understand Kincaid’s “jewel” reference because at a time, that is what I felt. I imagined the United States being an equal place for everyone and completely loving and accepting everybody for who they were. God was I wrong. Now, I know this country is not entirely like that. There is some good. I have more of a chance to be successful here than in Mexico. I have an opportunity to become equal; but I will never truly be “equal.” I, like Kincaid, saw my country as being amazing, but as I grew older, I learned of all the history, all the turmoil, and all the hatred that is still found today. With Donald Trump being president, it gives me two ways to look at it. One way is that anyone can make it very far. Another way is that a person filled with hatred can still win an election in a time where we see both viewpoints more than ever.
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In the essay, On Seeing England for the First Time, Jamaica Kincaid gives off a tone of being conquered, yet resistant to the power of the English. Kincaid attracts the […]