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Jana Evans Braziel, Assistant Professor
229B Mc Micken Hall
Department of English and Comparative Literature
University of Cincinnati
ML 210069
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0069
Office # (513) 556-0834
Fax # (513) 556-5960

Handout:  Questions on Edwidge Danticat, Krick?  Krack! and Breath, Eyes, Memory  


Using the poetic, lyrical “Epilogue” from Krick? Krack!, how could one interpret maternal genealogy in the novel Breath, Eyes, Memory?  What is the importance of maternal lineage for Danticat?  How is this lineage seen in the relationships of Ifé, Atie, Martine, Sophie and Brigitte?  Isolate several quotes from the “Epilogue” and explore the meaning of the lines in relation to the novel.

On the last page of Breath, Eyes, Memory, Danticat writes “I come from a place where breath, eyes, and memory are one, a place from which you carry your past like a hair on your head.  Where women return to their children as butterflies or as tears in the eyes of the statues that their daughters pray to” (234).  After Martine dies, Sophie tells Marc, “She is going to Guineau . . . she is going to be a star.  She’s going to be a butterfly or a lark in a tree.  She’s going to be free” (228).  Analyze Danticat’s use of butterflies in the novel.  What does it reveal about her world view?  Her beliefs about life?  Death?

How does Danticat’s use of ‘butterflies’ compare or contrast with Christian Nguyen Langworthy’s use of butterflies in the lyrical short story, “Sestina”?

In the opening story of Krick? Krack!, “Children of the Sea,” Danticat creates an epistolary dialogue between two lovers separated by the internal violence of the Tonton Macoutes in Haiti.  Throughout the story, the lovers use geographical images of the landscape—the mountains, the sea, the sky, the banyan tree.  How do these images create an emotional or psychological landscape for their sense of suffering, loss, isolation or mental disorientation?  Danticat ends with the line, “behind these mountains are more mountains and more black butterflies still and a sea that is endless like my love for you” (29).  How does this line reiterate other images in the narrative?  Analyze the significance of this line (and others) in the epistolary dialogue.

Explore the significance of gestation, birth, abortion rape, and still-birth in Danticat’s writings—for example: "Rose," the dead baby in “Between the Pool and the Gardenias”; Célianne’s still-born child in “Children of the Sea”; Célianne’s rape; Martine’s rape by the soldier; Martine’s pregnancy with Marc’s child; her self-immolation and suicide at the end of Breath, Eyes, Memory.

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