Translation, Migration, & Gender in the Americas, the Transatlantic, & the Transpacific
5-8 Jul 2017 Bordeaux (France)

Participants > Panelists > Rose Shazia

A Study of Breath Eyes Memory in the Light of Pluralistic Model of Trauma
Shazia Rose  1  
1 : National University of Modern Languages

“Trauma may at times forever silence one, yet trauma can equally at times reorient consciousness in an adaptive fashion that eschews pathology” (Balaev). Breathe Eyes Memory is a novel by the Haiti born American writer, Edwidge Danticat, which delineates the raw edges and devastating fictions of our world. It incorporates folk wisdom, female intuition, kinship, parables, metaphors, and voodoo rituals which serve as a wall against the internal and external horrors, of this hypocritical and terrifying human race. Set in Haiti and the US, in this story of four generations of women, we are introduced to how they "tell stories to their children both to frighten and delight them." Danticat's book focuses on how the women writers "recreate the same unspeakable acts that they themselves lived through". In the backdrop of the Pluralistic Model of Trauma suggested by Michelle Balaev in Literary Trauma Theory Reconsidered, this paper aims to study how Sophie Caco voices the trauma filled narratives of the Caco women. Their marginalized position in society and their struggle to move on tells a tale of great strength and bravery. Contrary to the classic models of the trauma theory which propound trauma as an “unrepresentable event” this paper seeks to draw out how Edwidge Danticat has used folk wisdom and folk lore to represent the events in the lives of these women.

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