In Danticat's "Night Women," what does it mean that the heroine is caught between the day women and the night women?  

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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In "Night Women," part of Krik? Krack!, Danticat exposes the difficulties of women who must earn a living in a country with sorely limited employment opportunities. The heroine, like many other women in Haiti, chose to sacrifice her values, beliefs, and body in order to provide for her young son and keep him fed and housed. As a result, she became a professional prostitute; she became a member of the profession practice in the night; she became a night woman.

However, her soul remained a woman of the day. Her beliefs and values remained sacrosanct in her soul even if they were sacrificed in the physical world. This is what Danticat means when she writes, through her heroine’s thoughts, that the heroine is caught between the two worlds of day women and night women.

The love and care she gives her young son is testimony that her soul is still a woman of day, even though she wears her bright, blood-red scarf on the streets during the day to attract customers, “suitors.” The fact that she tells her son stories of ghost women who "ride the crests of waves while brushing the stars out of their hair" while letting him sleep in his Sunday best testifies to her care and concern to disguise this secret night life from her son.

This dichotomous pull of necessity and inner essence is what Danticat's heroine means when she says that she is caught between the day and night worlds of women. This is what the heroine means when she answers her small son’s question, “Mommy, have I missed the angels again?” by saying, “Darling, the angels have themselves a lifetime to come to us.”: her soul remains in the day, so the angels will come to them eventually.

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