12/01 Native Guard Response

December 1st, 2010

“You can get there from here, though/ there’s no going home./ Everywhere you go will be somewhere/ you’ve never been. Try this:/ head South on Mississippi 49…”

I chose this excerpt because I found it to be good example of  a constant theme for both Kincaid and Trethewey: that of denying where home is, and then contradicting themselves deliberately. Here we see that Trethewey feels that there is no getting home, there’s just “here” and “there”, and yet the first location she uses as an example is Mississippi, where she was born. If there is no such thing as “home”, she could have very easily said “Ohio”, or some distant-sounding place like Tulsa, Oklahoma. Instead she chose Mississippi, indicating that her parting point could be none other than her origin, and isn’t that “home”?

Kincaid goes through the same denying process by referring to Antigua as a small place, and Antiguans as “they”. Yet to emphasize the consequences of colonization her main focus is Antigua, not a cluster of small Caribbean Islands, or whole continents (i.e. South America). She is telling us directly that her sole concern is Antigua, and indirectly that Antigua matters to her. I would attribute this interest to the fact that she is Antiguan, and that Antigua is her home.

They both use place as a way of reflecting their attitudes toward their origins and also to exemplify how distance, actual or temporal, transformed their identities. It’s true, there’s always a “here” and ‘there” and a long walk in between, these authors thrive on this to give us useful information about themselves, where they come from as opposed to where they are. Inevitably, they become home-denying as their identities morph under the influence of other places, nonetheless, their books reflect that they are ultimately home-bound.

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3 Responses to “12/01 Native Guard Response”

  1. hwerblow100 on December 2, 2010 1:40 pm

    I think you are making a really important argument here! This relationship between both Trethewey and Kincaid and their theory of “home” is one that I never noticed before. The quote you chose I think is really significant to what you are arguing and you make a valid point. You’re right, they each use place and geographic location to reveal something about their personal opinions about their backgrounds and how their identities are shaped by the changes that have occurred. There is this connection that both authors will always have to their homeland, this place where no matter what has happened does in some part represent “home.”

  2. shochbaum on December 5, 2010 3:29 pm

    I love your point about the fact that both Kincaid’s and Trethewey’s temporal and physical distance from their homes contribute to their homes being a major factor in shaping their identities. I was so caught up in the proximity of their emotions to their origins that I never considered how much perspective their distances allots them! It kind of reminds me of the notion that you need to take a step back to see a full picture; perhaps both Kincaid and Trethewey are able to relate their perspectives so clearly because of their distances. They see the whole Antigua and the whole Mississippi, not merely their specific situation.

  3. maivish058 on December 6, 2010 5:48 pm

    I belive it is a very strong argument. I strongly agree with you when you said:”They both use place as a way of reflecting their attitudes toward their origins and also to exemplify how distance, actual or temporal, transformed their identities.” Kincaid and Trethweay, they both have used places to describe their personal feelings about that backgrolund and how it has helped in shaping their identities. This quote really supports the argument that tou are making here…No matter what, they will feel connected to their homeland:for Kincaid, it is Antigua and Mississppi for Trethweay, since it is the representation of their home.

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