The Gap Between the Childhood Image of England and the Perceived Reality of England in Kincaids Story: On Seeing England for the First Time

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Jamaica Kincaid is a West Indian American writer. Born in Antigua, a former British colony, she carried the post-colonial experience of the West-Indians in her heart. In many of her works, there is spontaneous rumination of the colonial experience that fuels her works and gives it a fierce power…

Introduction


Her essay is an exploration into her own self to unravel the cultural identity of her existence. The essay is strewn with images of England, which were planted in her psyche early in life. In her naivet she believed these images to be true and never questioned their validity. However, her visit to England carrying these images formed early in childhood, made her totally unprepared for reality of England that unfolded before her. She encountered her un-Englishness not only from the hue of her and their skins but also from the deeper experience as the child of ancestors who have been taken captive and taken to a new land to work for the white. She finds that the distrust between her and the English is one of the rallying points in their experience. " they didn't like me, and it occurred to me that their dislike for me was one of the few things they agreed upon"(357).
The virulent hatred of the institution of colonization is based her experience of being robbed of her identity. The conquistadors and the colonial masters are the object of her revenge. She has been disenfranchised, exiled from her heritage and she fantasies of revenge by a "reversal of fortune". " 'if I had the power to simply banish them from their land, send boat after boatload of them on a voyage that had no destination"(357).
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