Haitian History •Dec. 1492: Columbus discovers Haiti (the island of Hispaniola) •ca. 1600: Native Carib population (Taino-Arawak Indians) virtually wiped out. African slaves begin to arrive in increasing numbers. •1600s: Rise of British, French, and Dutch activity in Caribbean. •1697: The Spaniards cede the western third of Hispaniola to the French crown at the Treaty of Ryswick. Haiti is now called "Saint Domingue." Haitian History 2 •1697-1791: Saint Domingue becomes the richest colony in the world. Its capital, Cap Francis, is known as the Paris of the New World. •August 1791: The first major black rebellion takes place. This begins the markings of civil war between the black dominated north and the mulatto dominated south. •1796: Toussaint L'Ouverture emerges as the leader of the former slaves in the north. He restored order, ended the massacres, and restored some of Saint Domingue's former prosperity. Haitian History 3 •January 1804: Jean-Jacques Dessalines proclaimed the independent black Republic of Haiti in the northern half of the island (the first independent country of former slaves in the world). The name of the new country, "Haiti," is the name that had been given to the land by the former Taino-Arawak peoples, meaning "mountainous country." •1843 to 1915: Haiti sees 22 heads of state, most of whom leave office by violent means. Rivalry continues among the whites, the mulatto elite, and the blacks. Haitian History 4 •1915: President Guillaume Sam is dismembered and the Americans invade the country. They remain for 19 years. •1934: The Americans leave Haiti, which is now prospering once again. •1937: Thousands of Haitians living on border of the Dominican Republic are massacred by General Trujillo's soldiers. (background to The Farming of Bones) •1957: Francois Duvalier (“Papa Doc”) was elected president, terrorized the country, rooting out any and all opponents to his administration and ensured Haitian History 5 •his power through his private militia, the tontons macoutes (which means in kreyol, "uncle boogeyman"). •1964: Duvalier changes the constitution so that he can be elected president for life. •1971: Duvalier dies and is succeeded by his son Jean-Claude, age 19 (also known as 'Baby Doc'). By this time Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere (and remains so to this day). •1972: Haitian "boat people" begin to flee to US. Edwidge Danticat--Biographical Sketch •born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti January 19, 1969, under the dictatorship of Duvalier. •raised by her uncle and aunt (parents in New York)--moved to America at 12--remained silent for most of her teens-“I sought solace in books, read a lot, and kept journals written in fragmented Creole, French, and English." Edwidge Danticat--Biographical Sketch 2 •wrote her first short story at 9 (about a girl who was visited by a clan of women each night) •1990--undergraduate degree in French from Barnard College. •wrote Breath, Eyes, Memory as her MFA thesis at Brown University •1995--Pushcart Short Story Prize •List of Works •Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994) •Krik? Krak! (1995) •The Farming of Bones (1998) Danticat on Literature and Writing • “Literature is a society mirror. I think that empathy is necessary for our common surviving. Literature teaches us to step into the other. Literature doesn’t only teach the secrets of our hearts, but of the others’ hearts as well….” • “For me, writing has always been about bearing witness and trying to understand who you are and your writing context in the world. Being a child of migrants I think my life was always a kind of search and writing is a way for me to interpret that search.” Haitian Creole •a mixture of French, Spanish, African, and English called Creole, or "Kreyol”--Danticat was taught French in school, but spoke Haitian Creole at home. Creole was her first and primary language; English is her third language. •her writings as attempts to represent the cadence of a recent speaker of English: getting to the point, listing important events, incorporating less literary color. Krik? Krak! •a finalist for the National Book Award in 1995. • Krik? Krak! represents the call and response of aftersupper storytelling: krik? is the call asking if anyone has a story to tell, and krak! is the reply. --usually what follows the formula are light stories, jokes, riddles •using her autobiographical experiences in Haiti--"to raise the voice of a lot of people that I knew growing up, and this was, for the most part, . . . poor people who had extraordinary dreams but also very amazing obstacles" •translated into Kreyol for Haitian radio broadcast. “Children of the Sea” •What is special about the narrative form? •the two narrative voices--the man and the girl letters that can never be sent •Identify some of symbols, or possible symbols, of the story. •Butterflies (5, 25, 28-29); children of the sea •Who are the “children of the sea"? •the comparison of the escape to Miami to the experience of the middle passage--going to bathroom on the boat (15); the young man has to throw his notebook overboard (27-28) “Children of the Sea” 2 •Who is identified by name in the story? Who is not, and why? •Madan Roger; Celianne; Lionel; Swiss; Justin Moise Andre Nozius Joseph Frank Osnac Maxilmilen •How do people react to tragedy, calamity, and brutality in the story? •powerless (17); escape; fight •What do you think about the ending of the story? What are the attitudes toward the future? Do they have hope?