What are the differences between Jamaica Kincaid's world and that of her brother Devon? What role does Antiqua play in the story?

gsenviro | Student

Jamaica Kincaid in her book My Brother reflects on life and death, motivated by the death of her brother Devon, an AIDS patients who died at the young age of thirty three. Jamaica was the first born and was taken care of. However, once she had brothers (Devon was fifteen years younger than her), she was neglected and was made to care for the family (including babysitting her brothers). She finally came to the US and enrolled in college. She ended up becoming a successful writer and rarely gave anything back to her family. Her brother Devon was a poor child in a poor country and was involved in robbery, did jail time, used marijuana, had unprotected sex with other people even though he was suffering from AIDS, and stole from his mother and brother. Life could not be more different for the brother and the sister.

Antigua is the birth place of Jamaica Kincaid and her family. Antigua's condition and how it affected the lives of her family are interwoven in the story. In a poor country, drugs and prostitution are rampant and that's how Devon met his end. As Jamaica mentioned, men preferred to die rather than leave the prostitutes alone. She also describes the poor health conditions (she had to procure Devon's medicine from the US), state, and fate of AIDS victims and the thought that she might have gone the same way if she had not left for the US.

In fact, Antigua may have been one reason for her dysfunctional relationship with her family.

Read the study guide:
My Brother

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