Edwidge Danticat Discussion Topics

Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Many of Edwidge Danticat’s characters are immigrants. What are some of the ways that her characters change in response to a new culture? What are some of the ways that they retain their old culture?

The mother-daughter relationship is important in Danticat’s fiction. Discuss the similarities and differences among several of the motherless daughters in her works—for instance, Amabelle and Valencia from The Farming of Bones, Josephine from “Nineteen Thirty-Seven,” Lamort from “The Missing Peace,” and Marie from “Between the Pool and the Gardenias” in Krik? Krak!

In Danticat’s fiction, characters’ names often shed some light onto their traits or experiences. For instance, in The Dew Breaker, the main character’s last name is Bienaimé, which translates roughly as “love well” in French. What is the significance of other character’s names—for instance, Ka from The Dew Breaker, Amabelle and Valencia from The Farming of Bones, and Marie from “Between the Pool and the Gardenias” in Krik? Krak!?

Magical Realism is a term sometimes applied to Danticat’s works. Find and discuss several passages that could be considered Magical Realism.

Danticat’s characters often suffer violence from political or social clashes. How do her characters achieve emotional healing from this kind of violence? Is forgiveness part of their healing?