• Homeland as a Site of Trauma in Selected Short Stories by Edwidge Danticat

    Amel Abbady (see profile)
    CLCS 20th- and 21st-Century, CLCS Global Anglophone, LLC 20th- and 21st-Century American, TC History and Literature, TC Psychology, Psychoanalysis, and Literature
    Psychic trauma, Haitian Americans
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    The main objective of this article is to examine the representation of ʻhomelandʼ in three short stories by Caribbean-American writer Edwidge Danticat: “The Book of the Dead,” “Night Talkers,” and “The Gift.” All three stories represent Haitian migrants in the multi-cultural setting of the United States. A central theme that connects these stories is that of trauma and its physical and psychological repercussions on both victims and perpetrators. In the majority of earlier Caribbean migration narratives, the return to homeland is utilized to allow characters either to “confront the traumatic experience of historical violence and to finally begin the process of healing from it,” or to “[recover] an empowering cultural past” (Richardson 37, 41). However, Danticat problematizes her return narratives by presenting Haiti as a site of perpetual trauma rather than a site of healing. A close reading of Danticatʼs work shows unwillingness to heal from the wounds of the past. Drawing on the intersections between literary trauma theory and psychoanalysis this paper argues that, by establishing Haiti as a site of repetitive traumatic experiences, Danticat resists the perception of ʻreturnʼ as a healing and empowering act.
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    Journal article    
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    11 months ago
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