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Children of the Sea. Author~Edwidge Danticat. Birth-Port-au-Prince, Haiti January 19, 1969 Emigration-Brooklyn, New York 1981 Study-Barnard College for French Literature 1990, Brown College for Fine Art 1993. Writing of the Author. Beginning, 1978 Breath, Eyes, Memory, 1994

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author edwidge danticat
Author~Edwidge Danticat
  • Birth-Port-au-Prince, Haiti January 19, 1969
  • Emigration-Brooklyn, New York 1981
  • Study-Barnard College for French Literature 1990, Brown College for Fine Art 1993
writing of the author
Writing of the Author
  • Beginning, 1978
  • Breath, Eyes, Memory, 1994
  • Kric? Krac! 1995
  • Farming of the Bones, 1998
kric krac
Kric? Krac!
  • “Kric” and “Krac”
  • A weaver of tales
  • “I wanted to raise the voice of a lot of the people that I knew growing up, and this was, for the most part, . . . poor people who had extraordinary dreams but also very amazing obstacles."
critical extracts
CRITICAL EXTRACTS

CARRIBBEAN WOMENWRITERS

  • Ingrid Sturgis
  • Ellen Kanner
  • Jordana Hart
  • Erika J. Waters
ingrid sturgis i
INGRID STURGIS (I)

“<…>Krik? Krak!, chronicles the ups and downs of Haitian life. A complication of masterful storytelling, it reveals the harsh life under dictatorship, the reign of terror by the strong-arm forces, the Tonton Macoutes. The sometimes metaphorical stories are filled with tales of Haitian rituals and legends that resonate with truth and poetry.

ingrid sturgis ii
INGRID STURGIS (II)

Make no mistake, these lyrical stories are powerful and political works of art. Unlike Breath, Eyes, Memory, Danticat says ‘The stories are more of a collective biography. I know someone it happened to or might have happened to. It’s a lot of people’s stories.’”

ellen kanner
ELLEN KANNER

“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.”

jordana hart
JORDANA HART

“More than anything else, the storytelling of the young Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat has given the world honest and loving portraits of Haitian people, both on the island and in the United States. She has smashed the numbing stereotype created by a barrage of media accounts of Haitian poverty, misery, and death. <…>”

erika j waters i
ERIKA J. WATERS(I)

“One of Danticat’s strengths is her irony, subtle and penetrating.” <…> “While watching the young woman clutch her dead baby in the “Children of the Sea,” the narrator takes the time to record that her friend has passed university. Danticat shows here how desperately humankind clings to the myths and belief of civilized society.

erika j waters ii
ERIKA J. WATERS(II)

Irony is further enhanced by the use of “krik krak” as the title. While that 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 he tales do carry a moral lesson – about the powerful and the powerless, about the failure of food to triumph over evil.”

haitian history
Haitian History
  • The name of Haiti means mountainous country which was given by the former Taino-Arawak people.
chronology 1
Chronology 1
  • 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

chronology 2
Chronology 2
  • 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
chronology 3
Chronology 3
  • ~1820 The failed dictatorship
  • 1915~1934 The US invaded Haiti

for 19 years

  • 1957 Francois Duvalier

“Papa Doc” became

the president.

chronology 4
Chronology 4
  • 1971 Duvalier died and his son

Jean- Claud “Baby Doc”

succeed.

  • 1972 Arrival of

“boat people”

in Florida.

slide18

Haitian Culture

‧People

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

‧Language

-Nearly all blacks speak Creole

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

haitian culture 2
Haitian culture(2)

‧Home of Voodoo

-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

haitian culture 3
Haitian Culture(3)

-Rituals involve dancing and drumming,spirit possessions and the occasional zombie.

-Iwa(the spirit worshipper is chosen to be ‘mounted’ by a spirit)

relationship of the characters
Relationship of the characters

Parents Parents Madam

| | Roger

Kompe -- girl

(the radio six) (nameless)

boat people– Celianne, an old man

slide27

Q:Why is the female leading

character nameless? Is there

any special meaning?

A:We can have much more

space to exercise our

imagination.

Or her name only means to

Kompe.(p3)

about kompe
About Kompe

※Self-pride:bathroom(p15),

crying(p9)

※Identification:

One may lose one’s identification

on the boundless sea (p9, 11)

major themes
Major themes
  • Hope (or hopelessness)
  • Love
  • Religion:Christian, Agwe
  • Tyranny
  • The topic:Children of the

Sea(p27)

slide30

Q:How do people react to

tragedy,calamity, brutality in the story?

A: Father—powerless(p17);

Kompe—escape;

Madam Roger—resist(p16)

slide31

Q:What do you think about the

ending of the story?What are the

attitudes toward the future?Do

they have hope?

Q:Why did the baby of Celianne,

Swiss,not cry at all on the boat?

technique
Technique
  • Narrative form
  • Objectification:fiery red ant (p3), crushed snail(p3) ---- leading female role; dog(p8)---- the macoutes;vulture(p8 & p18)---- the macouts, Kompe and other boat people
  • Simile (p22, 25, 26, 27)
kompe s dream i
Kompe’s Dream(I)
  • Do you remember our 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)
kompe s dream ii
Kompe’s Dream(II)
  • 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)
repeat i
Repeat (I)
  • Her whole family did not want her to marry papa because 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)
  • Papa worries a little about you. He doesn't hate u as much as you think. The other day I heard him asking manman, do u think the boy is dead? Manman said she didn't’t know. I think he regrets being so mean to you. (p. 5)
repeat ii
Manman’s (family) (from the city)

(high social status)

|

Papa

(a gardener form ville rose)

(lowe social status)

Papa

|

Kompe

Repeat (II)

Papa rejects Kompe as

Manman’s family rejects papa.

irony i
Irony(I)
  • Whatever you do, please don’t marry a soldier. (p. 4)
  • 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)
irony ii
Irony(II)
  • I am getting used to ville rose, there are butterflies here, tons of butterflies. So far none has landed on my hand, which means they have no news for me. (p. 25-26)
  • The black butterfly floating around us. (p. 28)
irony iii
Irony(III)
  • She had chosen me to live life eternal, among the children of the deep blue sea, those who have escaped the chains of slavery to form a world beneath the heavens and the blood drenched earth where you live. (p. 27)
identify symbols

Identify symbols:

a.blood(p3)

b.black butterfly(p5,25,28-29)

c.sun(p5,6)

d.old button,tape

e.Ville Rose

f.Banyan tree

identify symbols 1
Identify symbols(1):
  • a.Blood(p3)

--the hint of sex & painful childhood

  • b.Black butterfly(p5,25,28-29)

Q:How do you feel about the butterflies in “Liang Chu” and in “Children of The Sea”?

identify symbols 2
Identify symbols(2):
  • c.Sun(p5,6)

Ex.I don’t even like seeing the sun—hopeless(p5); Miami is sunny—hopeful(p6)

  • d.Old button,tape

--previous government

identify symbols 3
Identify symbols(3)
  • e.Ville Rose

--a hopeful place

  • f.Banyan tree

--a spiritual support, most trusted friend, holiness

“Gone with the Wind”

reference
Reference
  • http://voices.cla.umn.edu/authors/EdwidgeDanticat.html
  • http://www.english.uwosh.edu/helmers/storyweaver.html
  • Caribbean Women Writers