What is the relationship between the narrator and her mother in the short stories "Caroline's Wedding" and "New York Day Women" and "Nineteen Thirty-Seven" by Edwidge Danticat?

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The short story collection Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat is a collection of nine short stories, most of which deal with mother/daughter relationships of Haitian immigrant women.

The short story "Nineteen Thirty-Seven" deals with Josephine, a young woman whose mother, Manman, has been imprisoned for being a witch. In this story, Josephine struggles with loving her mother, but being frustrated by her mother's actions. When Josephine visits Manman in prison, Josephine is overcome with guilt at her relationship with her mother and cannot speak. This becomes a source of frustration for Manman because even though she enjoys seeing her daughter, she is frustrated that Josephine is silent.

In "New York Day Women," Suzette, a Haitian woman, tries to assimilate to American life, often against her mother's wishes. Suzette's mother, an immigrant from Haiti, is often critical of Suzette, harboring some resentment because Suzette does not hold to old customs.

"Caroline's Wedding," the last short story in the collection, follows Grace and Caroline, the daughters of Ma, an immigrant from Haiti who is disappointed in Caroline's choice of not marrying another Haitian. In this story, Ma is firmly rooted in her Haitian traditions and culture, Caroline is trying to assimilate to American culture, and Grace is stuck in the middle, trying to be both American and Haitian.

In each of these stories, the mother is usually a symbol for Haiti and Haitian culture, while the daughter is an immigrant struggling with retaining her Haitian culture and identity, while forging new ones.

 

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