A Way Out

“Every native everywhere lives a life of overwhelming and crushing banality and boredom and desperation and depression, and every deed, good and bad, is an attempt to forget this.  Every native would like to find a way out, every native would like a rest, every native would like a tour.”  (Kincaid 18)

The library can do this.

The library contains books, yes, but these books are worlds, paths of escape to other places, times, adventures, and people.  In short, somewhere far away from where the reader is presently.  It is true the old cliché which says that reading books is a way for a person to see the world without going anywhere.  It is a place where dreams can begin, ideas are hatched, and inspiration is begun.   As a result, reading a book begins to start something in a reader–ideas.  Ideas that life in other places can be different, better, and even worse.  These ideas not only give a sense of motivation towards greater things, but most importantly they provide comfort in the present situation.

I know all these things to be true, growing up in poverty and blind to how immense the world was in which I lived.  I, too, found all these things in our only library and it made a lasting impression on me. Coming back to Antigua and seeing the dilapidated and demoted library, I can imagine how Ms. Kincaid felt:  robbed, heartbroken, and ashamed.  Her friend, her only “benefactor” (in a sense) was not simply gone, it was reduced in status and ability.  I would question that if there was no library, no decent library, how would other children find comfort and inspiration?  (Not to mention self-education?)  For some, the books on the shelves are their only tour, their only rest, and their only way out.

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1 Comment

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One response to “A Way Out

  1. I enjoyed the structure of your post n that it began with a quote, and the single sentence indicating the power of the library, followed by your support. Your post supports the idea that the library can have a much stronger purpose and influence than the average person realizes. The library can serve as a symbol of hope, one of relieve from the ordinary or something even much greater, the inspiration of ideas. The most powerful effect new ideas can have may be the motivation they provide people with to effectively alter and change their current situation. This would have a profound effect for the natives of Antigua and could ultimately change their entire culture.

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