First Time By Jamaica Kincaid

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In the essay “On Seeing England for the First Time,” Jamaica Kincaid, novelist and Antiguan native, holds not only England in disdain for the colonization and cultural oppression they brought to her island, but also her fellow natives for succumbing to the influence. Kincaid displays this disgust by utilizing symbolism, irony, caricature, and satire. Kincaid illustrates this culturally oppressed life in order to declare her own independence from the ideals that have been forced onto her. This essay focuses its bitter tone onto an English audience by including references to their culture. This disgust is emphasized by Kincaid’s use of symbolism throughout the piece. Symbolism first reveals itself when Kincaid describes England “as a leg of mutton,” she compares something as great as England to a peasant food, this is meant to hint at how the author really sees the country and challenges its self-proclaimed greatness(8). The next, and possibly most prominent example of symbolism is when Kincaid describes how her “father’s brown felt hat would develop a hole in its crown, [and] the lining would separate from the hat itself,” this…show more content…
When Kincaid describes England as “a very special jewel” the reader may now be able to detect the sarcasm that has been layered onto the seemingly simple statement (4). Irony is also found when Kincaid includes the statement from her teacher comparing England to “Jerusalem, the place you will go when you die,” if you have been to a good person, a heaven in our culture (23). This is a form of dramatic irony because we know that the truth of England is almost the polar opposite of what is being taughtWhile this has been said by a seemingly knowledgeable figure, we know that England is build upon the “squiggly veins” of those that they have pulled into their cultural sphere of influence, like the Antiguans, who have unknowingly been lead to abandon their own culture

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