Historical Context

(Literature of Developing Nations for Students)

Political Terror in Haiti
Haiti in the early 1980s was ruled by Jean Claude ‘‘Baby Doc’’ Duvalier, son of the infamous...

(The entire section is 1277 words.)

Literary Style

(Literature of Developing Nations for Students)

Point of View
Sophie's story is told in the first-person and is largely chronological, although some events are not explained or...

(The entire section is 1108 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Breath, Eyes, Memory fits into a long tradition of novels about the protagonist's coming of age. The Bildungsroman, or novel of...

(The entire section is 290 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

In Breath, Eyes, Memory Danticat makes it clear that the relationship between a mother and her daughter is never simple and never...

(The entire section is 317 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Oprah Winfrey's selection of Edwidge Danticat's first novel to her Book Club in May of 1998 attests to the young, Haitian born author's...

(The entire section is 1184 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Literature of Developing Nations for Students)

Charters, Mallay, ‘‘Edwidge Danticat: A Bitter Legacy Revisited,’’ in Publishers Weekly, August 17, 1998,...

(The entire section is 192 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Campbell, Elaine. The Whistling Bird: Women Writers of the Caribbean. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 1998. Includes a useful discussion of Danticat.

Casey, Ethan. “Breath, Eyes, Memory.” Callaloo 18, no. 2 (Spring, 1995): 524ff. Sees the novel as an important literary introduction to Haitian culture at a time when Haiti’s political turmoil was in the news. Notes that the coded reference to politician Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s party, Lavalas, is a subtle statement of Danticat’s hopes for a post-Duvalier Haiti.

Charters, Mallay. “Edwidge Danticat: A Bitter Legacy Revisited.”...

(The entire section is 487 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Literature of Developing Nations for Students)

Read about the dictatorship of Jean Claude ‘‘Baby Doc’’ Duvalier in Haiti and discuss how it affected poverty, illiteracy, and crime...

(The entire section is 145 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Often, as is the case in the most commonly cited German prototypes of the form, a Bildungsroman tracks the artistic development of a...

(The entire section is 328 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Danticat has published two books since Breath, Eyes, Memory; both are similarly focused on the Haitian landscape and culture. Krik?...

(The entire section is 156 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Literature of Developing Nations for Students)

Danticat's Krik? Krak! is a collection of short stories set in Haiti. The title comes from a traditional Haitian custom of listeners...

(The entire section is 206 words.)