Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat is a story about a girl named Sophie. She travels from Haiti to New York and meets her mother Martine. Martine suffers from violent nightmares because her mother used to test her virginity constantly. Eventually she does the same thing to Sophie. They develop a hatred towards their bodies and a fear of sex. Sophie meets Joseph and has a child with him. Martine disapproves and throws her out of the house. They reconcile and start over. Martine finds out that she’s pregnant by her lover Marc. In the end she stabs herself in the stomach 17 times killing herself and the baby. I think one thing Danticat was trying to show was the difficulty of separation and travel. The author’s parents left when she was very young and her aunt and uncle took care of her. She developed a close relationship with them and actually resented leaving them to see her mother. It was very difficult leaving home and starting a new life in a new environment and often times she felt isolated. Another theme involves the connection of language. When Sophie first meets her mother, she is told to learn English and study in school. She is not only making a connection to her mother but she is also connecting with American culture. Creole is her link to the past and to her mother and aunt. A lot of immigrants forget some of their past culture but she does not. Joseph knows a Louisiana form of Creole and gives him a common ground with Sophie. I think the author also focuses on female purity. This is an important aspect of Haitian culture as well as other cultures and religions. Purity stresses the importance of a woman’s body. Most people believe that a woman who has slept with no one but her husband shows integrity. It’s the sign of a family’s pride and honor. Because of this, her body in a sense also belongs to the family. A woman loses her individualism and ownership. Purity also puts a lot of…
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