The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: English Studies: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Sidney Parham

Second Advisor

Sharon E. Cogdill

Third Advisor

Daun G. Kendig

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Jamaica Kincaid's novels Annie John and Lucy demonstrate a marked resistance to Western philosophy and the British literary canon. The writings of Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Patricia Hill Collins provide useful frameworks for viewing Kincaid's work. Ngugi's metaphor of "moving the centre," combined with Hill Collins' theories of Black feminism are both useful in examining the issues of voice and identity in the neo-colonial experience.

Critics have attempted to identify Kincaid's work as either coming-of-age, pre-oedipal narrative, feminist, or autobiographical. While these categories can also be useful in reading Kincaid's work, they are also limited in their ability to define her writings. Generally Kincaid's work eludes such attempts at definition.

Kincaid's rhetorical style creates a multiplicity of layers. She reveals the deception inherent to colonialism by using an unreliable narrator; she also establishes· an environment in which time and space are unified and circular. Her rhetorical methods recall the many layers of the colonial context of Antigua.

Kincaid's work is radically feminist in that it dismantles existing theories of feminism. Kincaid's practical view of feminism combines thought and action, mocking the Western feminist tradition of relying on texts and theories. Kincaid's frame for viewing Western feminism (the "out.sider-within" as defined by Hill Collins) allows her, as it. does other marginalized women, to comment. upon Western feminism from an informed but critical stance.

Lucy and Annie John, both young women of Antigua, low expectations and opinions of the male characters. male voices in Kincaid's work speak with impotent and ineffective voices in contrast to the women who have tremendous power on many levels of communication.

Kincaid's female narrators develop close relationships with other women. Through these relationships, which closely parallel the women's connection to the land, women cultivate kinship communities in which their individual voices receive respect.


Dedicated to the beautiful Sha-Narah Ruth, my inspiration and hope. And, the beautiful Pauline Ruth, my advocate and friend.

Also with heartfelt gratitude to Jamaica Kincaid, whose brilliant, poignant, and courageous work continues to challenge and inspire me.

Thanks to the members of the graduate faculty: Sharon Cogdill, Donna Gorrell, Daun Kendig, and Sidney Parham, for their patience and guidance,

To my mentors: Juliana Abbenyi and Somesh Jha, or their wisdom and encouragement.

And to those who cared so patiently and lovingly for Sha-Narah when I could not: Erica, Kristia, Philip Benson; Susan and Tim Bosshardt; Ardis Falk; Robert and Judy Hoofnagle; Marvin Lyman and Shana Moses.

OCLC Number