Craig White's
Literature Courses


Jamaica Kincaid

(b. 1949)


brilliant but troubling author--usually divides the class, but a fast read

pace of narrative and rapid cycle of feelings imitates actual social life? 

compare to DeFoe’s exhaustiveness of detail; Kincaid extremely selective in detail and plotting

Lucy 66-71 discussion of possible pregnancy; then subject is dropped! Possible criticism: style cares more for affect, feelings, emotional responses than realism.


style: hot, passionate, readable but perverse

attraction-repulsion, intimate but offputting

Lucy 20 love and hate exist so side by side

90 not like my mother—I was my mother.


relate to Objectives (opening bullets): In contrast to Anglo-American scholarship's and fiction's plain style, postcolonial criticism and fiction may act out in extravagant or confrontational ways; sometimes it flouts the dominant style but it can also imitate.

Kincaid, A Small Place:  "Since we were fuled by the English, we also had their laws. There was a law against using abusive language. Can you imagine such a law among people for whom making a spectacle of yourself through speech is everything?" (93)

Contrast with repression of emotion or human relations in Robinson Crusoe and other colonial texts.

"one-note artist"--intense love-hate relation with mother, writes about it obsessively in all her novels; productive but disconcerting relationship seems extended to all other relations


Jamaica Kincaid brief autobiography at Emory PoCo Site

BBC literary profile of Kincaid

1995 Salon interview