The Features Of New Journalism In A Small Place By Jamaica Kincaid And Intrusions By Melissa Febos

November 24, 2021 by Essay Writer

In the essay “Intrusions,” the author Melissa Febos writes about a terrifying stalking incident she endured while living in New York and working as a dominatrix. She recalls how a strange man used to stand outside her window at night, groaning and saying inappropriate things to her, which made her feel unsafe in her own home. Also, the essay “A small Place” begins with the author Jamaica Kincaid narrating the reader’s experiences and thoughts as a hypothetical tourist in Antigua. The reader witnesses the tremendous natural beauty of Antigua while being shielded from the harsher realities of the lives of those living in the place. Kincaid weaves into her narrative the sort of information that only a native of Antigua would know, such as the reason why the majority of the vehicles on the island are poorly running, expensive Japanese cars. In order to extend and expand on our definitions of New Journalism, Febos uses syntax while Kincaid uses long run-on sentences that represent the never-ending problems of Antigua, a repetition of some specific words in order to get her point across. Both authors also use the conversations between characters, but Febos uses the first-person point of view to give a personal narrative while Kincaid utilizes the second-person point of view, which puts the reader into the story.

Febos writes her story using short syntax while Kincaid writes hers using long sentences with the aim of not only listing the problems of women and men peeping on them in the society and Antigua, respectively but rather allowing the reader to see from their perspective what they had been through. Febos uses short sentences to voice out how men and the society at large view women who dance as their job and make the men who watch them the victims of society. Febos writes, “It is also a narrative that exonerates men. If we want it, where is the crime? Better yet, make us seductresses, inverting the men’s role even more extremely: They are our victims! One of the most shared qualities of all predators in their self-conception of victimhood” (Febos, 147). The author finds herself in a society that characterizes men as victims of sexual harassment as women are the ones who decided to seduce men, which is not the case. Because of this kind of system, women are always blamed if any man inappropriately peep on them while the men are found not guilty the women are seen as wanting men to do that to them. Febos use a tone of anger and hatred towards the society when she uses an exclamation mark at the end of the word ‘victim’ in the quote. The tone is not only from having a past from a man peeping through her window in addition to that of other women she interviewed who had been through a similar situation, but rather how women are generally treated should in case they report such incidents.

Kincaid writes about the never-ending problems of the people of Antigua from the time they were colonized, the earthquake, and their current situation while pausing on colons, semicolons, and commas. Kincaid writes, “Antigua used to have a splendid library, but in The Earthquake, in 1974 the building was damaged…the West got rich not from the free(free—in this case meaning got-for-nothing) and then undervalued labor for generations, of the people like me you see walking around you in Antigua..”(Kincaid 8-10). Kincaid explains how the people of Antigua have been through so many problems, including their ‘splendid library’, which was damaged by an earthquake, and now has a sign in front of it saying, “This Building was damaged in the earthquake of 1974. Repairs are pending”. The sign has been hanging there for so many years without the government trying to put up money into changing the state of the building even after they gained independence from the British. Also, the author writes about how the people of Antigua are still undergoing slavery under their corrupt government officials whom the work endlessly, which is making them rich, but the people themselves are still living in poverty. The word ‘free’, which is supposed to mean liberation, isn’t in the case of the people of Antigua as they are still being treated by their government officials the same way they were treated by the British which is, using them to work for their selfish benefits.

Kincaid uses Repetition of specific words to emphasize the point she’s making in the form of sarcasm. The people of Antigua tend to develop hatred for tourists who visits their islands because they see them as a threat to them due to their history of slavery and colonization by the British. Kincaid writes, “A tourist is an ugly human being. You are not an ugly person all the time; you are not an ugly person day today. From day today, you are a nice person. From day to day, all the people who are supposed to love you on the whole do”(Kincaid, 14-15). The word ‘ugly’ is used by the people of Antigua repeatedly to describe their hate for those who visit their island because of the special treatment they receive from the government like tourists not being checked when the reach the customs of the airport and the construction of some roads for the Queen when she visits intending to leave a good impression for more tourists to often visit the island as they generate more income for the government. She also repeatedly describes the reader as a nice person in a sarcastic voice to make him/her feel good even though they are ignorant about what the real Antigua is. Kincaid further makes the reader questions him or herself about not knowing so much like the history of some places they visit and even jumping into conclusions about the things they see in specific areas. Kincaid writes, “Still, you feel a little uneasy. Still, you feel a little foolish. Still, you feel a little out of place.” (Kincaid, 17). The use of the words a little uneasy and foolish from the point of view of the reader in regards to how he she feels expands on our definition of New Journalism as it makes the reader thinks if he or she is living the life of a tourist at a place like Antigua and other places the reader might visit. This strategy extends on the idea of New Journalism, which is mostly about readers knowing about the point of view of characters and not evoking any sense of reflection on the actions of these characters, as seen in the quote.

Febos and Kincaid use conversations between two characters. Febos’ girlfriend questions her about still holding on to memories of the past, but she tries to deny it when she writes, “I never think about it anymore,” I explained. “It was terrifying when it happened, but I don’t think it stuck with me much after that.” “Really? How about the way you keep your curtains closed with a double side tape?” “Oh, I said. “I guess I do” (Febos, 163). The quote shows the effect the stalker in her past who was always making her feel uncomfortable in her home had on her, and she couldn’t get over that feeling. Febos thinks that no one was going to notice how extra cautious she is when it comes to the safety of her home, but her girlfriend did see it and confronted her about it since she told her about the story of her peeper. As tourists tend to be ignorant about the history of Antigua and only base their judgment on what they currently see when they first arrive, Kincaid writes about how a driver in Antigua wants to benefit from tourists who come to visit the island but this time the driver didn’t succeed as the reader(the tourist) asked for the sheet with the amount on it. Kincaid writes, “he quotes the price… In U.S. currency.” You may say, “Hmmmm, do you have a formal sheet that lists official prices and destinations?” Your driver obeys the law and shows you the sheet, and he apologizes for the incredible mistake he has made” (Kincaid, 5). Even though Antiguans might drive flashy cars, most of them are not as rich as the government only give out loans when you want to purchase a vehicle. This makes them want to do everything in order to get money to survive, and the only way is to engage in corruption, especially those who are taxi drivers tend to charge anyone who is a tourist a higher fare than the normal.

Febos writes her essay in the first-person point of view while Kincaid writes in the second person point of view. The use of the word “I” in “The Intrusions” shows a personal story of the author, which evokes the feeling of emotions and empathy from the reader towards women who have also been sexually assaulted. Febos writes, “As precociously developed eleven years old, and I never told anyone about the older neighborhood boy who spat on me every day at the bus stop. At fourteen, I never told anyone about the sixty-year-old manager of the tackle shop that employed me and his endless stream of dirty jokes” (Febos, 146). Due to the victim-blaming of women who go through sexual assault, many women live in that fear of speaking about what they have been through because when they report, society tends to blame them for what happened to them. Kincaid uses the word “you” to represent the tourist in her story to put the reader into the account so that they can think about what to do and what not to do when they visit a place. Kincaid writes, “You may be the sort of tourist who would wonder why a Prime Minister would want an airport named after him—why not a school, why not a hospital, why not some great public monument?” (Kincaid, 3). As a tourist, you often find yourself wondering and comparing things that you see in the environment of the place you visit. This is what the author tries to achieve when she makes the reader the main subject of her story when she starts by using the words “you may be the type of tourist,” and these words prepares the reader that he/she is going to be the one in the story and this makes them feel whatever the tourist will go through in the story. The strategies used by both authors expand on New Journalism by making the author present in the story instead of being a fly on the wall narrating a story about an encounter.

To conclude, both Jamaica Kincaid and Wendy Walters of ‘A Small Place’ and ‘Intrusions’ respectively help to extend and expand on our definItions of New Journalism, which is mainly about storytelling, distanced authors fictional characterization. The two passages are more than just the listed definitions since they add on to them except for distance authors as they are both personal and not historical movements, evoke emotions, and put the reader in the story while they question some actions in their life. Febos uses short sentence structure while Kincaid uses long run-on sentences that represent the never-ending problems of Antigua, a repetition of some specific words in order to get her point across. Both authors also use the conversations between characters, but Febos uses the first-person point of view to give a personal narrative while Kincaid utilizes the second-person point of view, which puts the reader into the story.


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