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She confiscates the possibility of negating her negative statements. Kincaid transforms her assertions into facts, thus frustrating any potential counter-argument. There can be no positive rectification to what happened:. But nothing can erase my rage—not an apology, not a large sum of money, not the death of the criminal—for this wrong can never be made right, and only the impossible can make me still: can a way be found to make what happened not have happened?

A Small Place

They have nothing to compare this incredible constant with, no big historical moment to compare the way they are now to the way they used to be. No industrial Revolution, no revolution of any kind, no Age of anything, no world wars, no decades of turbulence balanced by decades of calm.

A Small Place Summary

Nothing, then, natural or unnatural, to leave a mark on their character. It is just a little island. In doing so, Kincaid may be illustrating the fact that she is condemned to speak and see through the language of the criminal. She uses pragmatic weapons against the English tongue, minorising it from within 23 , namely through the eroding work of negation and the subtle play with deixis.

In the shadow of the positive standard language, Kincaid imparts on English a renewed forceful character that can hardly leave the white western reader indifferent.


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Paris, Gallimard. Pragmatic Stylistics. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press.

Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

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A Small Place. My Brother. Unnatural Voices. Extreme Narration in Modern and Contemporary Fiction. On the Discourse of Satire. Sorlin eds , The Ethics and Poetics of Alterity. You get dressed again; as you get dressed, you look out the window But some natives—most natives in the world—cannot go anywhere.

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They are too poor. They are too poor to go anywhere.

Colston ed. See Jeffries and McIntyre , Laurence R. She has published articles and books on the languages of utopia and dystopia in literature and on the history of linguistic ideas. Where the intention might have been to avoid a static performance, the physical drama could have gained power and coherence from more moments of stillness. A Small Place is bold and enlivening polemical theatre nonetheless, and it is passionately performed, with political resonances around race, colonial legacy and blind consumerism that run deep.


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    Vere Cornwall V. Bird is the Prime Minister of Antigua.

    Ideological crossings: ‘you’ and the pragmatics of negation in Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place

    You may be the sort of tourist who would wonder why a Prime Minister would want an airport named after him--why not a school, why not a hospital, why not some great public monument. You are a tourist and you have not yet seen. So begins Jamaica Kincaid's expansive essay, which shows us what we have not yet seen of the ten-by-twelve-mile island in the British West Indies where she grew up. Lyrical, sardonic, and forthright by turns, in a Swiftian mode, A Small Place cannot help but amplify our vision of one small place and all that it signifies.

    Kincaid writes with passion and conviction. Kincaid is a witness to what is happening in our West Indian back yards.