The Land… Of The Free? Essay

1676 words - 7 pages

In the selection The Last Department by Katia D. Ulysse, it is evident that though Foufoune is confident that Gwo Manman would live a life of happiness in the United States, the opposite holds true. Gwo Manman dies in this so-called “land of the free” that Foufoune brings her to. “Foufoune had kidnapped her from her home and was forcing her to live in the worst kind of exile” (224). Though many dream of living in the United States, nicknamed the “Land of the Free” or “Where Dreams Can be found,” this is not the case for Gwo Manman nor Foufoune. Gwo Manman is insistently brought to the states through Foufoune and her sister, Miriam, never forgives her for it. The tragic fate of Foufoune is held in Miriam’s hands that decide to murder her in Haiti. “Her mother and sister had both returned home to her in Puits Blain. This time to stay” (241). Ulysse’s story proves that there is disillusionment towards America’s “freedom.” Most people see Haiti as a place not worth living in. However, Haiti would have been the haven that could have kept both Gwo Manman and Foufoune alive. Sometimes, receiving aid that is not asked for reaps its own consequences.
Foufoune, who promises her a better life, brings Gwo Manman, who is shown to live comfortably and happily in Haiti, to the Americas. However, Gwo Manman feels that Foufoune kidnapped her from the place she feels most comfortable with and slowly deteriorates while living with Foufoune. Gwo Manman had a much happier life in Haiti but her freedom – the long walks along Route des Frères with friends, the taste of Barbancourt in her mouth, the pleasure of wild drum music, being shirtless under the noonday sun – is stolen from her. For Gwo Manman, America becomes her solitary confinement. Her troubles root from the environmental change forced upon her. Gwo Manman, who always remained shirtless under the noonday sun, believes that the sun had healing powers. The sudden change from Puits Blain’s comfortable, hot climate to America’s dark and dreary cold begets her many illnesses such as onset dementia and Alzheimer’s. “She had changed, and hated the person into whom America had turned her” (224). Had Gwo Manman not been confined to America, she may have lived. Even Miriam, her second daughter, is aware of this. “Her life was here in Puits Blain… Everything she was familiar with was right here. You locked her up in an apartment morning, noon, and night. She was free here, not trapped like a tortured detainee,” (231) Miriam exclaims to her sister. However, Foufoune robs Gwo Manman of her freedom, even to her death. She dies in America when everyone knew that “she never would have allowed herself to live or die anywhere but in Puits Blain” (233). Haiti remains the safest place that could have kept Gwo Manman from both her despair and her death.
Foufoune, who has had a complicated relationship with her sister since childhood, is brought back to Haiti to have her mother’s funeral ceremony. However, it is possible that...

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