76 Magical Bean Juice in a Short Story

Meredith Ryan

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In Julia Alvarez’s A Cafecito Story,  Joe, with a boring name, has a boring life in the most boring state I can think of: Nebraska. So, what better way to escape his bland life than to travel to the tropical country that is the Dominican Republic? Maybe people vacation to tropical destinations with little thought that people live mundane lives there as well. Just because it is a destination for one person, does not mean it isn’t home for another. This itself shows secondary colonialism. Within our readings for class, the one that stuck out to solidify secondary colonialism the most was “A Small Place” by Jamaica Kincaid.

In Kincaid’s piece she states, “[a] tourist is an ugly human being. You are not an ugly person all the time; you are not an ugly person ordinarily; you are not an ugly person day to day. From day to day, you are a nice person” (1228). Comparing this to Alvarez’s A Cafecito Story, we see that Joe is not an ugly person by default, and although his intentions are innocent when deciding to travel to the Dominican Republic, the fact that he goes there as a tourist brings out an ugly side of him. Yes, he wanted to escape his mundane, dismal life, yet exploiting other’s equally if not more mundane lives for his enjoyment makes him, as Kincaid states “ugly”.

We, as tourists are not ugly humans in general, but what we do without consciously thinking about it makes us ugly. We, for lack of a better word, exploit individuals’ boring lives to make our own lives a tad bit more interesting. Although Joe and his government don’t formally own the Dominican Republic, through the use of consumerism and tourism, he is partaking in a form of colonialism: secondary colonialism.


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The Student Theorist: An Open Handbook of Collective College Theory Copyright © 2018 by Meredith Ryan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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