What are some themes that can be found in the novel Brother, I'm Dying?

One of the main themes of Brother, I’m Dying is the importance of family love. Edwidge, her father, and her father’s brother are forced to endure a lot of suffering throughout the book, yet their close family ties sustain them through their many trials and tribulations.

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If there’s one overriding theme of Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying , it’s that blood is thicker than water. The close family ties that exist between Edwidge and her family, especially those between herself and her father and paternal uncle, sustain everyone through some very difficult times, making them...

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If there’s one overriding theme of Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying, it’s that blood is thicker than water. The close family ties that exist between Edwidge and her family, especially those between herself and her father and paternal uncle, sustain everyone through some very difficult times, making them stronger, giving them hope in the midst of hopelessness.

But family love does so much more than that. It gives people the strength to go above and beyond the call of duty. We can see this point illustrated in the actions of Edwidge’s Uncle Joseph, who risks life and limb to save his adopted daughter Marie Micheline from the evil clutches of her husband, who works for the Tonton Macoute, the feared paramilitary unit that served the Haitian dictator "Papa Doc" Duvalier. In saving his adopted daughter, Uncle Joseph is effectively giving her a new lease of life, as Marie Micheline gratefully acknowledges.

And such powerful family bonds don’t simply exist this side of death; they carry on into the afterlife. They live on, even after Uncle Joseph and Edwidge’s father have departed. At least, that’s what Edwidge likes to imagine. She cannot be sure that Uncle Joseph and her father are together in some tranquil afterlife, but it’s a nice thought, and in any case, the two men are buried together in a shared grave, a very visible and powerful symbol of the close family bonds they shared upon this earth.

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There are a number of themes in the autobiographical novel Brother, I’m Dying: family, fear, death, illness, immigration, poverty and the American Dream. As a number of these themes have already been covered below, I will look at poverty and the American Dream.

The novel is an autobiographical memoir of Edwidge Danticat. She was born in Port-au-Prince in Haiti to a very poor family. Her mother was a seamstress and her father a taxi driver. When she is four years old, Danticat and her brother are left with their uncle and aunt when their parents move to New York in search of the American Dream. In Haiti, Danticat and the family never know where their next meal is coming from.

Sadly, their story is typical of hundreds of thousands of people in the country. The American Dream is an important theme as it is the reason that Danticat’s parents left her and her brother. Danticat doesn’t know whether she will ever see her parents again, but when she is twelve, they send for her and her brother to join them in the US.

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I would say that one of the primary themes of this book is the rights (or lack thereof) of immigrants. Edwidge and Bob are separated from their parents due to a bizarre law which allows certain members of the family but not others to move from Haiti to the USA, meaning that the children are compelled to stay behind even when both parents had relocated to the USA. This theme is emphasized with the story of how Joseph is treated when he arrives in the USA as a desperately ill man.

Family is another prominent theme, and the lengths that family members will go to in order to protect one another from pain. This is made clear by Mira's attempt to keep Edwidge in New York without disclosing the fact that he is dying.

Illness is a third prominent theme, with both Mira (Edwidge's father) and Joseph struggling with life-threatening ailments.

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Of the many themes in Brother, I'm Dying, family is a core theme. The story revolves around the men closest to the protagonist (and author), Edwidge Danticat. Those closest to her are her father, Mira, and his older brother, Joseph. Edwidge viewed her Uncle Joseph as a second father while in his care after her parents left Haiti for America. At the age of twelve, she reunites with her parents and her two brothers. A complementing theme to family is immigration. Edwidge leaves the only home she has known (and her second father) to move to a foreign city in America. As the political situation in Haiti further deteriorates, Edwidge struggles to make her new life in the states for fear of the safety of those still there.

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There are many themes in this book. First of all, Family is an important theme. Edwidge is brought up during her younger years by her uncle because her parents left for the United States to create a better life. Edwidge grows extremely close to her uncle and likes to listen to his sermons, as he is a Pastor at their church. When Edwidge joins her parents in New York, she is still thinking of the people she grew close to in Haiti and wonders if they are safe.

Another theme is Fear. Edwidge is afraid of the new life she will begin in New York. Her Uncle Joseph is afraid when his church is mobbed and he is forced to flee to Miami.

Politics are another theme in this book as the political struggle and political deterioration in Haiti is illustrated for the reader.

Exile and immigration are also important themes as Edwidge and her parents move to New York as immigrants and her uncle is exiled from Haiti.

Finally, death is a theme. Edwidge wrote this memoir specifically to express and illustrate for readers the cruel deaths of her uncle and father. This book was a way for her to cope.

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