What is the point of view in "New York Day Women" in Krik? Krak!?

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Although "New York Day Women" is largely written in first person, Danticat's story alternates between two voices.

The alternating voices (signifying conflicting points of view) demonstrate the challenges of double identity. In the story, the mother is a Haitian native and a first-generation American. We hear the voice of the...

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Although "New York Day Women" is largely written in first person, Danticat's story alternates between two voices.

The alternating voices (signifying conflicting points of view) demonstrate the challenges of double identity. In the story, the mother is a Haitian native and a first-generation American. We hear the voice of the daughter, who is a second-generation immigrant, as she follows her mother through the crowd. The daughter, Suzette, admires her mother but has a difficult time reconciling her Haitian heritage with her American identity.

As she observes from afar, Suzette notes that her mother often looks out of place among the New York City crowd. Her bright print dresses seem incongruent among a sea of suits, high heels, and glamorous short skirts. When her mother stops to contemplate an African print dress, Suzette silently groans,

"I think to myself, Please Ma, don't buy it. It would be just another thing I would bury in the garage or give to Goodwill."

Through Suzette's internal monologue (comprising her voice and that of her mother's), we are given glimpses of her struggle to adapt Haitian values and conventions to modern American life. Even though Suzette loves her mother, she finds her traditions bewildering. For example, Suzette thinks that her mother should stay away from high-sodium foods. After all, her mother has high blood pressure. In America, health experts would certainly recommend such caution. However, Suzette's mother seems unfazed by the "rules" of western medicine; she purchases a frankfurter from a street vendor and proceeds to eat it, to Suzette's horror.

Suzette's conflict with her mother also arises from her mother's expectations for her. From the story, we can see that the mother wants her daughter to marry and to have children. However, there is little indication that Suzette agrees with her mother's conception of ideal femininity. To soothe her anxieties, Suzette's mother sews Raggedy Ann dolls that she names after her daughter, as she says,

"I will have all these little Suzettes in case you never have any babies, which looks more and more like it is going to happen."

Certainly, Suzette's struggle with double identity is evident in this first-person story. However, Danticat also shows that Suzette's mother has her own struggles. The text tells us that Suzette's mother never attended any parent-teacher meetings when Suzette was in school. Her reason? A heart-breaking "I don't want to make you ashamed of this day woman." These words show that Suzette is not the only one struggling with the problem of double identity. Suzette's own mother must navigate life in a foreign country with traditional Haitian values still ensconced in her psyche.

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While the previous answer is correct that “New York Day Women” employs a first-person point of view, it is important to note that Edwidge Danticat, the story’s author, experiments with point of view in this story.  Suzette is not only watching and wondering about her mother (as noted in the answer above), she is actively recalling and possibly reformulating things her mother has said.  These are indicated in boldface type alternating with Suzette’s own first-person inner monologue.  By including these reconstructed words of Suzette’s mother, Danticat manages to give us two different points of view—the mother’s as well as Suzette’s, even though the mother’s point of view is filtered through the constructs of Suzette’s narrative stream.  At some points the two streams of dialogue seem to run parallel to each other while at others they seem to almost merge into a kind of imagined conversation.  It is through these two points of view—Suzette’s own and the voice of her mother as she hears it in her mind—that Suzette works through her conflicts with her mother.  She begins to understand a hidden side of her mother and recognizes not only the sacrifices her mother has made for her but her mother’s identity as a Haitian American successfully navigating two cultures.  The closing lines of the story powerfully convey Suzette’s sudden burst of love and appreciation for her mother. 

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The point of view is first person.  The story tells about Suzette, who sees her mother on the street in an unusual neighborhood and watches her.

Point of view is the way in which a story is told.  First person point of view involves a character telling the story as his or her self.  This point of view is the most personal, but you only see one character’s perspective.  You can easily tell this point of view by the use of the word “I” when referring to the narrator.  Third person point of view will usually have a narrator use a name, such as “John felt sad” as opposed to the “I felt sad” of first person.

You can tell this story is first person because of the use of the word “I” to refer to Suzette.  More specifically, Suzette is a girl watching and wondering about her mother.  We only see Suzette’s point of view, not her mother’s.  Suzette is seeing a new side of her mother.

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