Haitian-born Danticat’s third novel (after The Farming of Bones and Breath, Eyes, Memory) focuses on the lives affected by a “dew breaker,” or torturer of Haitian. ABSTRACT. This article examines the representation of a violent and traumatizing past in Edwidge Danticat’s The Dew Breaker (), a collection of short. Edwidge Danticat’s brilliant exploration of the “dew breaker”–or torturer–s an unforgettable story of love, remorse, and hope; of personal and political rebellions;.

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Even after a person has changed, does the past ever go away? Also, there was a mistake somewhere in which Danticat referred to “the barber” when she meant to refer to “the prison guard” in a chapter, mixing up two time periods.


The sculpture she creates represents edwigde idea of who her father had been as a prisoner. I’ve heard the story described The Dew Breaker reads like a dream, in both senses of the phrase silky smooth, and like the nocturnal neuronal firings.

Beatrice decides to take Aline on a walk down her block in order to better understand her, even after some protest. He has nightmares about his time in Haiti. But I love Danticat’s breaking of the rules of fiction, because it’s so much more like real life, where people do change. The final chapter of this short story collection felt anti-climactic. There is also resiliency to the tales. One such victim is Michel, whose parents were killed by the dew breaker when he was a young boy. It recounts the president and his wife on television, the regular radio addresses, and the exile of Baby Doc.

Edwidge Danticat is still one of my favorite writers, but this was not one of my favorite books of hers. Maybe this isn’t a book for everyone I did not really know about the novel being made up of short stories when I chose to read this book, so as I was reading, I thought “Wait, What? In this novel, Danticat wants to show history of violence and trauma in an oblique way.

Many of which have undergone laryngectomies and are no longer able to speak. Even though two radically different stories may appear in consecutive order, the ideas and themes of each story are so interconnected that for a while I thought that it merely showed the same characters in different times and places. The Dew Breaker examines the violence, corruption, and political instability of an earlier period in Haitian history.


This is a tale of crime and punishment in the great tradition of Dostoevsky. I think all of us live nuanced and complicated lives. Why has Danticat chosen to end The Dew Breaker in this open-ended way? Story line is a man with a deep dark disturbing secret. The man returns to the basement to have a more thorough conversation with Michel and Dany about his wife. I wondered if Danticat was trying to say that it is context more than choice that make people who they are.

They tell tales of oppression, family, redemption and heartache. I think people like this should be punished as severely as justice allows.

When they are taking the sculpture to a renowned Haitian actress who lives in Florida, the father disappears. If you listen to the audio version, I’d definitely suggest sticking with it past the first story since this time around, it took Robin Miles a good story or two to really get in her groove with the Haitian voices.

It ‘opened my eyes’ to the unrest, uncertainties, horrors and tortures that took place in Haiti. You see, The Dew Breaker involves a set of characters who are of Haitian heritage. He is a quiet man, a good father and husband, a fixture in his Brooklyn neighborhood, a landlord and barber with a terrifying scar across his face.

That would have saved me a lot of confusion and frustration as I read the book and tried to make connections between the characters which sometimes just weren’t there. Usually I’d enjoy something like this, but the stories are at times so loosely connected that it’s hard to see the bigger picture.

She leaves the preaching to the preachers, such as the dynamic minister who figures in the denouement of The Dew Breaker. Nadine keeps to herself and tends not to socialize much with the other nurses at the hospital, despite their constant efforts in reaching out.

They’ve been separated for seven years, a number the man despises. He leaves his wife to go to the first job.


What does this passage suggest about the differences between Ka and her father? The citizens of Haiti then seek revenge on the military after Baby Doc and his wife flee to France. Crowds begin to form and cause havoc and destruction during their search for the militiamen they were seeking to torture and kill.

She was a warrior, a dancer, a storyteller, and a fantastic potter and has been my s hero since I was a little girl. Why does she stay with him after learning the truth about the identity of his last victim? This trend of the past being revealed in the end is a recurring theme throughout the stories of the novel, and not just from the somewhat secretive titular character, but from the other characters throughout the stories; such as the aforementioned father and daughter, or from a Brooklyn-based Haitian family who thought that a Dew Breaker [12] was with them inside their church on Christmas Eve.

The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat

There were lots of churches and many devoted to Christianity. Feb 17, Bethany rated it it was ok. After her relationship with Eric ends with the arrival of his wife, Nadine too is left in isolation.

As the book unfolds, moving seamlessly between Haiti in the s and New York City today, we enter the lives of those around him, and learn that he has also kept a vital, dangerous secret.

The Dew Breaker –

How does he rationalize killing the preacher? If specific events hadn’t been mentioned, then it might not have been so disconcerting. Her home lacks detail, giving Aline suspicion to Beatrice’s history. The Dew Breaker is one of Danticat’s older works, but the lesson in both moving forward and remembering the past hold true throughout its pages. We meet him late in life: Which is not to say of course, that any of the characters in this book are hollow on their own.