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Survival in the Reign of Terror. Edwidge Dandicat “The Children of the Sea”. Outline. General Themes The author Edwidge Dandicat and Krik?Krak , the tradition and the collection of short stories. Haiti “Children of the Sea” –”survival” of humanity Questions the woman’s experience

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survival in the reign of terror

Survival in the Reign of Terror

Edwidge Dandicat

“The Children of the Sea”

outline
Outline
  • General Themes
  • The author Edwidge Dandicat and Krik?Krak, the tradition and the collection of short stories.
  • Haiti
  • “Children of the Sea” –”survival” of humanity
    • Questions
    • the woman’s experience
    • The man’s
    • Humanity at times of trial
    • Ironies (1): Nature
    • Ironies (2): Letter Writing
  • For your reference & Reference
general theme edwidge dandicat and fugees
General Theme: Edwidge Dandicat and Fugees
  • One kind of diaspora: refugees –do they reject their past or can they?
  • The lives of Haitians and Haitian immigrants.
  • "new folk ethos“:
    • the definitive cultural forms produced by Africans, or those of African descent, since the Atlantic Passage.
    • five elements: 1. Music and dance, 2. Drums and rhythms, 3. Rhetorical and polemical speech (e.g. rap and dub poetry), 4. Art as education and entertainment, and 5. Humor and absurdity.

(Ref. Martha Cobb Harlem, Haiti, and Havana http://reach.ucf.edu/~aml3930/danticat/ )

author edwidge danticat
Author~Edwidge Danticat
  • Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti January 19, 1969, starting writing at 9
  • grew up in Haiti under the dictatorship of "Baby Doc" Duvalier
  • Emigrated to Brooklyn, New York 1981, (age 12) spoke little English then, yet published her first writings in English only two years later.
  • Studied in Barnard College for French Literature 1990, Brown College for Fine Art 1993
writings
Writings
  • Beginning, 1978
  • Breath, Eyes, Memory, 1994 (the rural practice of testing a girl’s virginity)
  • Kric? Krac! 1995
  • Farming of the Bones, 1998
kric krac
Kric? Krac!
  • “Kric” and “Krac”
  • A weaver of tales
  • a Haitian storytelling tradition in which the "young ones will know what came before them. They ask Krik? We say Krak! Our stories are kept in our hearts".

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art5070.asp

dandicat s use of krik krak tradition
Dandicat’s use of Krik? Krak! tradition
  • While that [“krik krak”] is the standard ending (sometimes opening) for a Caribbean story, the stories are usually anancy stories and folktales with moral lessons.
  • Danticat’s nightmarish tales are a far cry from those, but her tales do carry a moral lesson – about the powerful and the powerless, about the failure of food to triumph over evil.” (Carribean Women Writers ERIKA J. WATERS)
kric krac stories of common people
Kric? Krac!: Stories of Common People
  • She tells us of "kitchen poets," women who "slip phrases into their stew and wrap meaning around their pork before frying it." (note)
  • “. . .poor people who had extraordinary dreams but also very amazing obstacles." (source: http://www.english.uwosh.edu/helmers/storyweaver.html )
krik krak 3 on women
Krik?Krak! (3): on Women
  • Collective Biography of Haitian women.
  • “In many ways, each of these 10 stories (in Krik? Krak!) is part of the same tale. Women lose who and what they love to poverty, to violence, to politics, to ideals. The author’s deceptively artless storiesarenot of heroes but of survivors, of the impulse toward life and death and the urge to write and to tell in order not to forgot.” (ELLEN KANNERCARRIBBEAN WOMEN WRITERS)
  • e.g. Celianne –a woman with a still-born; in "Caroline\'s Wedding," there is a scene were a congregation prays for her and her child during mass.
haiti in the greater antilles
Haiti: in the Greater Antilles

1. the Bahamas to the North East of Cuba 

the Greater Antilles

the

Lesser

Antilles

haiti a country with many languages
Haiti: a Country with many languages
  • The name of Haiti means mountainous country, which was given by the former Taino-Arawak people.
  • 1492 Columbus discovered Haiti.
  • ~1600 Spanish conquered

Hispaniola.

  • 1697 Spanish ceded the

domination of Haiti to

French.

  • 1697~1791 The richest colony in the

world

haiti 2 independence
Haiti: 2 Independence
  • 1791 the first major black rebellion

took place.

  • 1796 the former slaves prevailed

under the leadership of

Toussaint L’Ouverture

  • 1804 the Republic of Haiti
  • The first independent black nation.
recent haiti political upheaval
Recent Haiti: Political Upheaval
  • ~1820 The failed dictatorship
  • 1915~1934 The US invaded Haiti

for 19 years

  • 1957 Francois Duvalier

“Papa Doc” became

the president, ensuring his power through his private militia, the tontons macoutes (which means in kreyol, “uncle boogeyman“ 惡魔).

recent haiti refugees
Recent Haiti: Refugees
  • 1971 Duvalier died and his son

Jean- Claud “Baby Doc”

succeed. By this time Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere (and remains so to this day).

  • 1972 Arrival of

“boat people”

in Florida.

haitian race and culture
Haitian Race and Culture

-Divisions of race and class between blacks(about 95% of population) and mulattos(about 5%)

-Nearly all blacks speak Creole

-French is spoken mainly by the mulatto elite, and is the official language.

haitian race and culture 2
Haitian Race and culture(2)

-An animistic African religion that has been melded with Catholicism

-80% people believe in Catholicism and 5% people are Protestant;Voodoo is popular among the farming society

survival in chidren of the sea starting questions
Survival in “Chidren of the Sea”Starting Questions
  • Love & Gender:
    • How are the two lovers related to each other?
    • Why do they not havenames? (Kompe should be a term of address.)
  • Survival and Deaths:
    • What different stories of survival & death do they each tell? (e.g. Madan Roger; Celianne; Lionel; Swiss; Justin Moise Andre Nozius Joseph Frank Osnac Maxilmilen)
    • What are the minor characters’(e.g. Madame Roger, Celianne, an old man) ways of surviving or resisting the dictatorship? Why did the baby of Celianne, Swiss,not cry at all on the boat?
    • What do you think about the ending of the story
survival in chidren of the sea starting questions20
Survival in “Chidren of the Sea”Starting Questions
  • Style & Theme:
    • In this ‘human’ tragedy, what roles does nature play? e.g. butterflies (5, 25, 28-29); banyan tree, children of the sea, etc.
    • Why do we have two narrators?
    • What is the overall tone of the story? Sad, ironic, or keeping some sense of hope?
the girl
The Girl
  • Though remembered as one protected by her ‘genteel’ mother and watched by her father (p. 9), she gets violent (4, 7) and rebellious (11).
  • Witnesses cruelties of the macoutes
    • Madame Roger’s son;
    • forcing incest;
    • Dogs licking dead faces, soldiers molesting women.
  • Communication with her mother p. 13 and with her father p. 28
the man
The man

※ dignity:avoid crying(p9), bathroom(p15)

※ his sense of identity:

    • Haitian – the song p. 9;
    • finally an African 11;
    • loses his sense of location on the boundless sea (11)
    • Dream of ‘heaven’ 12
  • a sense of community: singing, sharing food and story-telling 14
his dream of destruction and sublimation
His Dream –of destruction and sublimation
  • I dream that we are caught in one hurricane after another. I dream that winds come of the sky and claim us for the sea. We go under and no one hears from us again. (p.6)
  • The other night I dream that I died and went to heaven. This heaven was nothing like I expected. It was at the bottom of the sea. (p. 11-12)  starfish and the mermaid having Catholic Mass under the sea  Children of the Sea
humanity at times of trial
the boat people

Vulture 18; gossiping, and fighting 20-21

an old man like a painting, the boat like a museum 21

The man --cannot throw out the baby Swiss,

Communication between the old man and the man: name and message. 27

Under dictatorship

whether to rescue Madame Roger.

hope used as a weapon. 18

Humanity at times of trial
humanity at times of trial 3 family papa and mamma differences
Humanity at times of trial (3) Family -- Papa and Mamma: differences
  • Their different views of the two protagonists’s love p. 13; --mama: ambition; papa – not do her ‘good’
  • Their different social status: “he was a gardener from Ville rose and her family was from the city and some of them had even gone to university” (p. 22);
  • Their responses to Madame Roger’s disaster and death—rescue or not; self-denial and mourning 17; 19
  • Manman speaks for Papa. Regrets being mean to you(p. 5); how he saves her 24
humanity at times of trial 3 love
The man –

Sex as a way of intimacy.

Tried to win the father over.

Don’t marry a soldier

Remember their “silly dreams”: “Passing the university exams and then studying hard to go until the end, the farthest of all we can go in school. (p.21)

Notebook as his will

The woman –

--loves some one in her life. 22

Listen to the exam result.

Writing under the banyan tree

Humanity at times of trial (3) –Love
ironies in symbols associated with nature
Ironies in Symbols associated with nature
  • Love and red ants p. 3;
  • Mountains and endless sea as obstacles
    • endless mountains – p.3; p. 26 –signs of power?
    • –boundless and unpredictable p. 6;
    • sea – endless as love, too. The sea that is “endless like my love for you” pp. 15; 29
  • sun
    • the sun  associated with Africa pp. 11; 14; 27-28 (going to Africa—losing their direction)
  • Butterfly – superstition, her father’s hand;
  • Banyan tree p. 26 -

--a spiritual support, most trusted friend, holiness; can gods hear them?

irony 2 the letters will never reach each other
Irony(2): the Letters will never reach each other
  • Motivation: keeping their connection with a faith in their reunion. “I will keep writing like we promise to do. When we see each other again, it will seem like we lost no time” (p. 8)
  • Awareness of not meeting again. “It was nice imagining that I had you here to talk to.”  A poignant revision of the Krik, Krak tradition. (p. 27)
  • His love will live when he becomes a child of the sea.
  • Conclusion: Despite all the weaknesses, evils, deaths and ironies they witness and/or experience, love and human connections are confirmed in their lives.
for your reference
For your reference
  • "Epilogue: Women Like Us."
    • Writers don\'t leave any mark in the world. Not the world were we are from. [In Haiti, only politicians write.]
    • You remember thinking while braiding your hair that you look a lot like your mother and her mother before her. It was their whispers that pushed you, their murmurs over pots sizzling in your head. a thousand women urging you to speak through the blunt tip of your pencil. Kitchen poets, you call them. Ghosts like burnished branches of a flame tree. These women, they asked for your voice so that they could tell your mother in your place that yes, women like you do speak, even if they speak in tongues that are hard to understand.
reference
Reference
  • http://reach.ucf.edu/~aml3930/danticat/
  • http://voices.cla.umn.edu/authors/EdwidgeDanticat.html
  • http://www.english.uwosh.edu/helmers/storyweaver.html
  • Caribbean Women Writers http://www.english.ucf.edu/publications/lit3930/biography.html
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