The Library: Faith after Broken Promises

In A Small Place, the library had a sign which clearly stated, “THIS BUILDING WAS DAMAGED IN THE EARTHQUAKE OF 1974. REPAIRS ARE PENDING.” At the time Kincaid wrote this novel, we see that the library had remained damaged for over more than 10 years. She points this out because not only did she love going to the library as a child, she had some sort of connection to it. She feels that since the library remains damaged and need repairs, there is nothing that can be done for Antigua, as a whole. The island people may not care about the library as much as she does; however, they should see since the library was not repaired (as promised) after the earthquake, that they should not expect much to be fixed/changed to help Antigua. They are living off of broken promises but at the same time, still have faith that the island, including the library will one day be restored. For them to feel this way goes to show how strong they are and how much faith they have in their island and government. However, Kincaid does not see it this way and knows that since it has already been 10+ years since the promise to repair the library has not been fulfilled, there is not much hope for the island at all. People in the town use the library to ready, better their education, and become more intelligent. But without it being accessible, how are they to learn? How are they to become educated? Get a job? They may not realize how much “damage” not having the library is causing them, but in the long run, that broken promise is causing them a lot. But yet and still, they have faith.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Library: Faith after Broken Promises

  1. smboehm

    I agree completely with your concept that the library in A Small Place is used as a symbol of faith for the people of Antigua. It’s sad to see that something that can ultimately better the people’s lives is not being fixed although the country has money to repair it. For Kincaid, I think the library is seen as the opposite of a symbol of faith. For her, it shows how ignorant and deceitful the government of Antigua is and further supports her argument that there is minimal hope for the people of Antigua.

  2. stperry1

    I agree that Kincaid views the library differently than the rest of the islanders. Although some of them may continue to have faith and believe in the fact that the library will be fixed, Kincaid, however, disagrees and believe the government has abandoned her and her people. I agree that Kincaid sees the library as a symbol of the opposite of faith, or possibly the betrayal of her faith. The library means so many different things to different people, but since it was so important to her as a child Kincaid is particularly stung by the lack of desire to repair it.

  3. vrosengrant20

    I have to agree as the lack of a library allows their government to continue in their corrupt ways while the people are ignorant to how to change it, or even understand what is wrong. With the people unable to change or in any way manipulate their government, they will be left without a library. Yet, the library is the very instrument that will allow the people to learn and understand just how corrupt their government is and how to change it. This cycle keeps the natives trapped, isolated upon their island with the stagnant and selfish government who is comfortable with the state of the island.

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