Read The Dew Breaker and prepare an annotation of the first part of the book. The annotation should ask questions, make comments, draw connections and conclusions, paraphrase significant passages, underline key points in the text, and list unfamiliar vocabulary words and include their definitions.

In preparing an annotation on The Dew Breaker, questions could be asked about the relationship between art, objectification, and celebrity. Comments could be made on relationships between fathers and daughters and marriage. One key passage could be when Ms. Hinds tells Nadine she’s like a dog that doesn’t bark. Key points could focus on experiences of intimacy and immigrants. A list of unfamiliar vocabulary might include glib, grieve, and eradicate.

Expert Answers

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The following are some ideas about what to include in your response to the first part of Edwidge Danticat’s The Dew Breaker.

Possible questions:

Why is Ka so focused on properly sculpting her father?

How do the father’s objections to the statue relate to his aversion to being photographed?

What did her father mean when he said the ancient Egyptians “know how to grieve”?

How come the man and woman in “Seven” don’t have names?

How can work and employment be an escape from life?

How is Nadine’s Brooklyn different from Ka’s Brooklyn?

Possible comments:

You could turn the above questions, or any questions you have, into comments. For example, I could comment on how Ka's father's awareness of death connects to his admiration for ancient Greece.

Possible comparisons/conclusions:

You could make a comparison between “Water Child” and “Seven.” In both stories/chapters, numbers play a key role. The man is preoccupied with the number seven in “Seven,” and Nadine constantly receives a letter from her mom on the first of the month.

In relation to the first chapter, you could draw the conclusion that Ka’s inability to connect with her father is why she’s so focused on using him as a source for her art.

Possible significant passages:

One key passage could be when Ka states, “I have lost my subject, the prisoner father I loved as well as pitied.”

Another key passage could be when the man tells the woman that his two jobs helps him “fill the hours away from her.”

Key points:

One key point could focus on intimacy. All three chapters highlight close relationships and their fraught dynamics. Additional key points could include celebrity, marriage, confessions, and emotional labor.


Everyone’s vocabulary is different. Some words to examine might be grieve, eradicate, bobbing, glib, and relics.

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