Edwidge Danticat American Literature Analysis
All of Danticat’s works draw on her Haitian background and her immigrant experience. Many of her characters’ lives are shaped by the fact that they live “in between” two worlds, as immigrants often do, belonging to neither world completely. Amabelle, the main character in The Farming of Bones, is a Haitian woman in her twenties living in the Dominican Republic in the 1930’s. (Haiti and the Dominican Republic are two different countries which share one small island, Hispaniola.) Orphaned as a child, she was adopted by a Dominican family and raised almost as a sister to Señora Valencia, who is the same age as Amabelle.
However, even though Amabelle feels at home with Valencia and her father, even calling the father “Papi,” she is not quite “family.” Her position in the household is that of a servant, and Valencia remarks frequently that Amabelle’s skin color is darker than that of her Dominican family. As an immigrant, she lives between two physically separate countries, but she also lives between two different roles in her household—sister and servant—and between two different social classes, as identified by skin color.
The constraining power of social class is a theme repeated in many of Danticat’s other tales. In “A Wall of Fire Rising,” a story in Krik? Krak!, a young couple living in poverty in Haiti dream of a better life for their young son, a gifted student. However, they disagree...
(The entire section is 2581 words.)
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