Kincaid's "On Seeing England for the First Time"
In this essay titled, On Seeing England for the First Time Jamaica Kincaid subtly argues that
England's vain dominating presence, produced from the common admiration for England, played a
negative role in her life. Kincaid develops this claim of England by battling the reality of England versus
her childhood idea of England. Since this is the beginning of her work not only is the purpose to entice
the reader but to also inform them of the "reality" of England which conquered her lifestyle and inhibited
her natural growing culture. Kincaid writes in a serious, somber tone for people who also feel
dominated by England or another culture.
Questions for Discussion:
1. What is ironic about the author's words, "Seeing England for the First Time" is that in reality
neither is she really looking at England nor is this her first encounter with England. The author is
only looking at a map of England, not the people or lively culture. Also, the author describes
throughout the paragraphs the huge role of England in her life. Including the presence at her
family breakfast table and most importantly the relationship between her father and his English
2. In paragraph four Kincaid's words, "I had long ago been conquered" refers to the huge and
dominating role of England in her life. Where as the people in her life constantly regard England
as the highest of the high and the source of all final judgment in her life. The large presence and
highly regarded culture of another country in her own land hinders Kincaid in a dominating way,
making her feel unimportant and small.
3. The authors talks largely about the British influence in her life, especially in regard to marketable
items. In paragraph two Kincaid talks about her family breakfast and the many foods which
come from England. The most basic parts of her, her...
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