Reflection on the author, Edwidge Danticat, and her novel Krik Krak

Essay by KaraIvyHigh School, 12th gradeA, October 2004

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"In order to fully appreciate a work of literature, one must have a thorough understanding of the time period in which it was written and the culture from which it comes."

Throughout my reading of Edwidge Danticat's Krik Krak, I fell in love with every story and the meaning behind each. Reading this novel for my Caribbean class, it was assumed that the stories would help teach me more about the islands and their culture. Reading about each point of view of the woman and child within the stories, I captured the image of the poverty and dictatorship as it actually exists in Haiti. In order for a reader to learn and better understand the tragic life of living in the Caribbean, the author surely either experienced a life on the islands, or was extensive with her research of the topic itself. Therefore, there is no doubt in my mind that a story must be told if the author has a clear and precise understanding of the time period in which their novel took place.

For Edwidge Danticat, story telling was always a very significant part of her life. It was the way in which all Haitian women remember the history of their ancestors. "You thought that if you didn't tell the stories, the sky would fall on your head." (233) By sharing the mythological stories of the lives of past relatives, Haitian women continue to pass on the remembrance of past mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers etc. The famous title of Edwidge Danticat's novel, Krik? Krak, describes the way in which Haitian women share their legendary stories with one another. By asking Krik? and answering Krak!, the women of Haiti are able to express the stories of their past, and pass these stories on to...