What are some uses of symbolism and imagery in After the Dance?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Edwidge Danticat's 2002 work, there is plenty of imagery and symbolism found in the first chapter of After the Dance . In her recounting of her return to Haiti in "Jacmel 2001|Carnival Country," the author uses imagery in describing her surroundings. She describes the "piazza, where young men...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

In Edwidge Danticat's 2002 work, there is plenty of imagery and symbolism found in the first chapter of After the Dance. In her recounting of her return to Haiti in "Jacmel 2001|Carnival Country," the author uses imagery in describing her surroundings. She describes the "piazza, where young men straddle the low collonaded walls to watch the bustling human and automobile traffic stream by." In her conversation with Divers, she describes him as "stocky" with "dark, wide-rimmed glasses." These image-laden words call to mind a busy, urban environment and the man who offers the narrator his expertise on the subject of Carnival.

The imagery of carnival as both a place of overt sexuality and the threat of violence from the dictator Duvalier's enforcers and descriptions of the deafeningly loud music paint a picture of a wild, dangerous festival that she was too young to have experienced when she lived in Haiti as a child.

The "sticks" and "rifle butts" wielded by Duvalier's militiamen are symbolic of the violent regime of the dictator. Danticat describes a similar scene of brutality in Brazil where military police swung "batons" and "nightsticks" to forcefully part the crowds. In the absence of justice, the implements wielded by men working for the government are symbolic of law and order.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team