breath eyes memory

breath eyes memory

‘Physical and Sexual abuse’

The physical and sexual abuse the women went through in Breath,Eyes,Memory by Edwidge Danticat was horrific. Today, in my literary analysis paper I will be talking about how the violence in Haiti in the 80’s especially the sexual violence towards women with traumatized lives. I will explain how being a rape victim in this book makes it hard to live an everyday life and have a relationship with a significant other because of the inhuman things they had to go through.

The process of “testing”, in which a mother makes sure her daughter is still a virgin by checking to see whether her little finger can pass the girl's hymen, is one of the book's most troubling and difficult rituals. Begun in rural villages, where a woman's life was her honor, “testing” is nonetheless continued in their Brooklyn home by Martine, desperate to ensure that Sophie escapes her own unhappiness. The act is a symbolic violation that mimics the mechanics of rape, though its motives are nearly opposite. It most clearly embodies the book's obsession with female virginity, a cult of purity in which the woman's body becomes a symbol of her family's and husband's pride, worth, and honor in short, in which her body is anything but her own. More specifically, Martine's “testing” of Sophie simply because her own mother had “tested” her attests to the crippling weight of traditional practice, and the protagonists' difficult struggle to avoid passing on their painful inheritance.

“There were many cases in our history where our ancestors had doubled.

Following in the vaudou tradition, most of our presidents were actually one body split in two: part flesh and part shadow. That was the only way they could murder and rape so many people and still go home to play with their children and make love to their wives.”(Sophie 155-156)

This quote is describing the “testing” mothers did on daughters in which a mother verifies her daughter's virginity by making sure...

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