Survival in the Reign of Terror
“The Children of the Sea”
1. The author and Haiti
Krik?Krak, the tradition and the collection of short stories.
Born in Port-au-Prince,
Haiti January 19, 1969 grew up in Haiti under the dictatorship of "Baby
Emigrated to Brooklyn,
New York 1981
Studied in Barnard
College for French
Literature 1990, Brown
College for Fine Art
Memory, 1994 (the rural practice of testing a girl’s virginity)
Kric? Krac! 1995
Farming of the
“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".
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.
Kric? Krac!: Stories of Common
She tells us of "kitchen poets," women who "slip phrases into their stew and wrap meaning around their pork before frying it."
“. . .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
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 stories are not 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 KANNER CARRIBBEAN
WOMEN WRITERS )
The name of Haiti means mountainous country which was given by the former Taino-
Haiti: a Country with many lanaguages
1492 Columbus discovered Haiti.
~1600 Spanish conquered
1697 Spanish ceded the domination of Haiti to
1697~1791 The richest colony in the world
Haiti: 2 Independence
1791 the first major black rebellion took place.
1796 the former slaves prevailed under the leadership of
1804 the Republic of Haiti
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,
Recent Haiti: Refugees
Duvalier died and his son
JeanClaud “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
-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)
-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”
Love & Gender:
How are the two lovers related to each other?
Why does she not have a name?
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
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”
Style & Theme:
Identify some of symbols, or possible symbols, of the story. e.g. butterflies (5, 25,
28-29); banyan tree, children of the sea
The functions of having two narrators.
The use of ironies
※ Self-dignity ： bathroom(p15), avoid crying(p9)
※ Identification ：
One may lose one’s identification on the boundless sea (p.9, 11)
His Dreams 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 –destroyed sublimated 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) iii. 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) Children of the Sea
His views of the boat people
Cannot throw out the baby
Mixture of religion 20;
Still a human society 20-21
Papa and Mamma: differences
Their different views of the two protagonists’s love p. 13;
“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”
Their responses to Madame Roger’s disaster and death 17; 19; to the chaos
Manman speaks for Papa. Regrets being mean to you(p. 5); how he saves her 24
Symbols associated with nature
Butterfly – superstition, her father’s hand; red ants p. 3;
Banyan tree p. 26 -
--a spiritual support, most trusted friend, holiness the sea + the sun
–boundless and unpredictable p. 6;
-- the sun associated with Africa pp. 11;
“Gone with the Wind”
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)
The sea that is “endless like my love for you” pp. 15; 29
Reference http://voices.cla.umn.edu/authors/Edwid geDanticat.html
Caribbean Women Writers