The two books by Kincaid and Sontag respectively share a similar theme that by recalling the old and dark history, we should contemplate how our pleasure is connected to the suffering of others.
In the book A Small Place, Kincaid mentions the ugliness of those tourists that exploits the poorer people for their own pleasure. According to Kincaid, this is more like a spiritual form of utilization rather than direct exploitation that the beauty of tourist destinations can be a cause of suffering for locals (“A Small Place: Themes”). For instance, Antigua’s sunny and blue sky indicates that their fresh water is fairly valuable and rare because of the lack of rain. On the other hand, tourists just do not care about it at all since the beauty of the scenery is the most important for them.
In the book Regarding the pain of others, Sontag mainly addresses the matters of obligation and domination. She claims that even though shocking war photographs have ethical value and contribute to significant representations of a country’s collective memory, our culture driven by media is overloaded with the images of brutality (“Regarding the Pain of Others, by Susan Sontag”). As the violence and suffering being the prevailing news, photographers and ideologues who are morally aware have become progressively anxious with problems of emotion exploitation.
Personally, I believe that the exploitation of others mentioned in both of two books is still remaining and happening in contemporary society. One obvious example would be the sweatshops that are infamous for the exploitation of the labor force. A sweatshop usually occurred in the clothing industry where a super crowded place with poor and socially unacceptable working conditions. Workers in the sweatshops are suffering under low wages for long working hours and even health problems. I would say this phenomenon is morally ugliness just like tourism in A Small Place according to what Kincaid infers.
“Regarding the Pain of Others, by Susan Sontag.” Garage, 2013, garagemca.org/en/publishing/susan-sontag-regarding-the-pain-of-others.
“A Small Place: Themes.” SparkNotes, www.sparknotes.com/lit/smallplace/themes. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.