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Historical Analysis

1456 words - 6 pages

In 1969, an author by the name of Edwidge Danticat was born in Haiti and raised by her grandparents beginning at the age of four in Port au Prince. During Danticats time in Port au Prince, she learned the Haitian call and response of storytelling where she got the title “Krik? Krak!” Krik meaning the request of telling a story and Krak meaning the listener would agree. Danticat experienced a lot of pain, including the beating of her people due to the turmoil caused by invaders in her county of Haiti. Danticat was forced to move to the United States where she learned English and began writing. Throughout the course of Danticat’s life, she had many accomplishments including the Pushcart Short ...view middle of the document...

Danticats style of writing forces the reader to get involved and feel the suffering those women experienced. Danticat uses vivid details while connecting historical events through detailed imagery on how women were tortured and managed to survive. Braziel supports this claim by insisting “These images do not transcend the traumas of female embodiment and historical acts of maternal refusal; rather, they re-write Haiti's history both through diaspora distance and through the traumas of female embodiment, insisting that it is only by passing through Haiti's maternal bodies that the country will be reborn, that she will survive and necessarily confront the future” (Braziel, par. 15). This goes to show Danticats writing embodies more than just a headline or news article, but the gift of narrative through consistent and powerful characters with the same experiences and different outcomes. But why does Danticat use short story cycles for her style of writing? According to author Forrest Ingram, a cycle may be defined as “a set of stories linked to each other in such a way as to maintain a balance between the individuality of each of the stories and the necessities of the larger unit” (Ingram, 15). In other words, Danticat uses short story cycles to make the reader feel connected through stories and experiences different people of Haiti went through, while touching on the bigger picture and letting the readers experience how bad and widespread the turmoil was.
Many of the stories present parental death including "Nineteen Thirty-Seven,” in which the character Défilé lives through a massacre of Haitians at the Dominican Republic border but in her old age is beaten and starved to death in a Port-au-Prince jail cell after having been branded a witch. Perhaps the most dramatic parental death in the collection occurs in "A Wall of Fire Rising," when the character Guy, a worker who performs seasonal labor of cleaning latrines at a sugar mill nearby, steals a hot-air balloon belonging to the mill owner. In full view of his wife, Lili, his son, Little Guy, and the assembled community, Guy commits suicide by jumping from the balloon rather than face the prospect of repeating the life of his father, whom Guy describes as "a man that I would never want to be." Guy selfishly left behind his wife and son so he did not have to deal with the lifestyle they were accustomed to.
Even though Danticat speaks of women in her stories, this shows you even men had problems facing life in such turmoil. Guy could not stand living a life of poverty and being looked at as someone who was unsuccessful in every aspect of his life. But in the end of “A Wall of Fire Rising,” Guys wife, Lili, and his son, Little Guy, faced more turmoil when they lost their husband and father because now they have less support to get through the harsh times. Hope seems to be lost for Lili and Little Guy as their plan to leave Haiti turned out to be a...

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