Style and Technique

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 434

Danticat is not merely a realist, but an impressionistic realist, perhaps best described as a poetic realist; her realism is clothed in the poetry of her picturesque language. She handles the English language not only with an assurance befitting a born teller of tales but also with a justness rare with foreign-born writers operating in a tongue they did not know from birth. One is reminded of Joseph Conrad or Vladimir Nabokov (and even Conrad is guilty of occasional clumsiness). The list is small, Danticat their worthy successor. Consider such felicitous turns of phrase as her description of one of the clients in “Night Women,” who has a “breadfruit head,” leaving the narrator “with his body soaking from the dew of our flesh.”

Writing an essay?
Get a custom outline

Our Essay Lab can help you tackle any essay assignment within seconds, whether you’re studying Macbeth or the American Revolution. Try it today!

Start an Essay

Although she must often be tempted, she never lets her style interfere with the narrative. However rich and satisfying, it never overwhelms with pyrotechnics. A mark of authorial maturity is often said to be to know when to add and when to stop. The stories in Krik? Krak! vary in length from slightly under six to sixty pages. With a mere fifteen hundred words, “Night Women” is a complete, satisfying study of a prostitute’s existence. The reader can picture not only the misery of prostitution but also what it means to a real woman, with a very special son, living in a carefully described milieu, servicing at least three carefully delineated customers (though just with short thumbnail sketches). She paints the setting, the odors, the heat, the darkness. As well, she envelopes the whole tale with the aura of a mother in a very special relationship with her son, thus setting her account apart from the usual social problem/prostitution story.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Danticat disdains common novelists’ tricks for creating interest or suspense: unexplained details, Dickensian characters, coincidences, sexually explicit descriptions, and the like. Stylistic tricks are equally rare. She obviously depends on setting, realistic characters, and the tragedies inherent in most Haitian lives to move her stories. One device employed all through “Night Women” is relating present events in two ways: first, that they happen once, and second, that they are repetitive. In one paragraph, the little boy is asleep, his mother afraid he may wake up because Emmanuel makes noise. However, other events told in present time, such as the Sunday clothes he wears and her story about dressing up to greet angels, happen nightly. Mixing the unique with the reiterative imitates real life, emphasizing the fears and boredom, even the hopelessness of her existence. It helps the author create the little masterpiece in six pages that is “Night Women.”

Bibliography

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 83

Brown, Mariel. “Finding Her Way Home.” Caribbean Beat 64 (November/December, 2003).

Danticat, Edwige. “An Interview with Edwidge Danticat.” Interview by Bonnie Lyons. Contemporary Literature 44, no. 2 (Summer, 2003): 181-198.

Pierre-Pierre, Garry. “At Home with Edwidge Danticat.” The New York Times, January 26, 1995, p. C1.

Shea, Renee H. “The Dangerous Job of Edwidge Danticat: An Interview.” Callaloo 19, no. 2 (1996): 382-389.

Valbrun, Marjorie. “Haiti’s Eloquent Daughter.” Black Issues Book Review 6, no. 4 (July/August, 2004): 42-43.

Wucker, Michele. “Edwidge Danticat: A Voice for the Voiceless.” Américas 52, no. 3 (May/June, 2000): 40-45.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Previous

Themes