Krik? Krak! is a collection of nine short stories by Edwidge Danticat, a Haitian writer. While each story is different, involving different characters, locations, and events, these stories are held together by powerful thematic threads, like hope, fear, immigration, assimilation, culture, and identity.
In many of these stories, the theme of mother/daughter relationships is incredibly pronounced. As such, the mother, usually deeply rooted in Haitian tradition, is a symbol for Haiti and Haitian culture. The daughter, typically living in the United States or working toward leaving Haiti, is struggling with retaining her Haitian culture, while attempting to assimilate and establish a new identity. In each case, the narrator or main character is struggling with their status as an immigrant, their desire to assimilate, their fear of losing their culture, and the fears and hopes accompanied with forging a new identity.
Here are some key quotations that may be worth considering from some of the short stories.
From "Caroline's Wedding,"
"These were our bedtime stories. Tales that haunted our parents and made them laugh at the same time. We never understood them until we were fully grown and they became our sole inheritance."
From "Women Like Us,"
"The women in your family have never lost touch with one another. Death is a path we take to meet on the other side."
From "Nineteen Thirty-Seven,"
"We were all daughters of that river, which had taken our mothers from us. Our mothers were the ashes and we were the light. Our mothers were the embers and we were the sparks. Our mothers were the flames and we were the blaze."