On Seeing England for the First Time

Essay by ajensensmsHigh School, 11th gradeB+, October 2014

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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

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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...