When traveling to a country different from his own, an individual may be intrigued and astounded by the sights, smells and the people he discovers. This all plays a part in the experience the tourist comes out for and pays for. The individual plans and books this visit to enjoy his stay at the exotic land. By doing so, the individual can take a break from the life he left back in his hometown and use this opportunity to escape its harsh realities. However, what they don’t realize is that they are also stepping into the lives and homes of others and ultimately, their reality.
Keeping an ignorant mindset may be beneficial for the tourist, but may be destructive for the culture and lives of the natives. By sticking to the surface, the tourist objectifies the things he or she experiences in their visit by focusing on what they sense in they new land and thus, is able to view the land as paradise and feel as if they entered a perfect world. The short story “A Small Place,” written by Jamaica Kincaid, shows when traveling to a different nation, people only focus on the beauty of the land. The tourist stays on the surface so he does not have to think about the negative conditions and lifestyles within the country.
Kincaid describes how the tourist buys their experience and how they affect colonialization. This typical tourist behavior in which Kincaid mocks throughout her writing can be seen in the Vogue article “Ticket to Paradise. ” Jamaica Kincaid walks the reader through what a typical tourist does in Antigua. Kincaid uses second person point of view throughout her writing while incorporating a sarcastic tone. By using a second person point of view, she forces the readers into the text, giving them a closer experience.
She tells you what to feel, think and do. Kincaid introduces Antigua as done in a brochure making it seem like a consumer object. She makes specific, yet at the same time, general statements to let the reader relate to the text easily. Kincaid makes the reader feel detached from the people of Antigua even though the reader is instantly sucked into story. The reader only sees the beauty of the land, and by keeping the reader detached, Kincaid is able to incorporate how most travelers feel toward this land or any other third world nation.
The tourist described is only able to experience a limited amount of things. Kincaid presents the tourist with beautiful scenery of the land; however, at the same time, she tells the reader of shocking “behind the scenes” events which occur in Antigua. Kincaid casually, and yet at the same time abruptly brings up many frightening events that may occur to the tourist. Such as what may happen if a medical emergency were to take place and you may not be able to arrive at the hospital, or more importantly, you may be handled by a doctor who is not even qualified as a “doctor. Throughout the text, Kincaid points out such small occurrences as the reader travels and looks out into Antigua and tells the tourist how what you see is not what you get. For example, Kincaid writes, “the road that was paved for the Queen’s visit in 1985 (when the Queens came, all the roads that she would travel on were paved anew, so that the Queens might have been left with the impression that ridding a car in Antigua was a pleasant experience). ” By giving this example, Kincaid is able to point out that the average tourist may be experiencing the same feat.
The place or tourist attraction that the traveler is residing in may be one of the few places that are seemingly clean and beautiful, while the rest of Antigua, where actual natives live, is completely different. The beauty and change of stepping into another country can astonish any individual and make them fall under the impression that they have stepped into utopia. The article “Ticket to Paradise” tells the story of Francois Nars, a famous make up artist, was fascinated with the Polynesian culture and islands decided to buy Motu Tane to create his own personalized paradise but still using the Polynesian themes that first inspired him.
In the Vogue article, Nars interprets the Polynesian islands as a paradise filled with fresh air and lush green leaves and has the typical tourist attitude. Nars states, “As soon as I arrived in Bora Bora I felt something profound. I was mesmerized by the colors and structure of the land. ” Although it may seem like Nars is having Nars’ focus on the beauty and surface aspects of the land exemplifies the colonialist attitude that Kincaid criticizes in her writing. Throughout the article, Nars mentions the dances of the people, the beautiful architecture, scenery and nature of the tropical island but does not go any deeper than that.
He does not recognize the natives’ lifestyle but instead focuses on his own and how to make it better and more comfortable on the island that he will vacation in. Like Nars, tourists have a tendency to focus on themselves while on vacation (that is the point of vacationing); however, being oblivious to what is around you can be harmful to the people of the island. Kincaid states “the sun is your personal friend. ” The sun, being the center of the universe, is metaphorically a stand for the tourist, and shows that anyone can buy a position in the land of Antigua.
Nars demonstrates this idea by buying his own island. The Vogue article shows how great life can be if one comes from a powerful nation and that the individual can buy his way into anything and everything in a third world country, while the natives in these countries, do not have power anywhere in the world, primarily because their nation does not have much power either. From the first paragraph of “A Small Place,” the reader sees who Kincaid views as the mastermind behind the idea of colonization. She uses her sarcastic tone to point out that Europe has a great effect on the rest of the world.
Kincaid’s voice erupts when she states “We made you bastards rich. ” This short line highlights Kincaid’s feelings toward the western world. She makes it obvious that she blames the westerners for her country’s failure and despair because of their judgmental attitudes and eagerness to go after what is perceived as beautiful. And because of this mindset of westerners, the underdeveloped nations dress themselves up to be admired by westerners, because beauty is the only aspect that westerners find appealing since political, cultural or social aspects of the nation, which affect the lives of the natives, are crumbling.
The make over the nation undergoes affects both the natives and the tourist. The tourist is unable to peek into the lives of the natives because they experience a side unreachable to the natives. The third world nations’ nature to show off the beauty of their land through their luxurious hotels and resort specifically made for the tourist inhibits the traveler from interacting with natives and opening their eyes and minds to what truly occurs in the “perfect world” he vacations in.