Thursday, September 28, 2006

Krik? Krak!

Danticat's "Krik? Krak!" is a book I was immediately drawn to, and unable to put down. I am intrigued by her style of writing. It is so simplistic and honest, yet somehow remains so detailed and specific. Haiti came alive in the images I was able to create in my mind through her deeply developed characters, and compelling stories.
In the section "Children of the Sea", I thought she used the repetition of words to really connect the two writers. For example, the section opens "They say behind the mountains are more mountains. Now I now it's true" in the boy's letter, and the reader sees this idea come up again on pg 26 when the girl writes, " i see mountains, and behind those are more mountains still". I thought this was such an interesting concept to show that no matter how far away these two young lovers are they are feeling similar things, even writing similar things. Through this repetition Danticat expresses the close ties these two characters really share, almost to a point of eeriness. She uses this method again, when first the boy writes on pg 15, "Maybe the sea is endless. Like my lover for you", and later on pg 29 she writes "a sea that is endless like my love for you".
I noticed that Danticat uses more characterization, than physical descriptions to display a portrait of Haiti, but I found one settings description that really stood out. On pg 34 she writes, " "I am from Ville Rose," I said, "the city of painters and poets, the coffee city, with beaches where the sand is either black or white, but never mixed together, where the fields are endless and sometimes the cows are yellow like cornmeal". I loved this description of Ville Rose because it’s written so clearly I feel as if I've been there and seen it with my own eyes. I thought the randomness of what the speaker chose to describe his city (from beaches to cows) very fitting for how one often describes their hometown. When I went to Beans and Bread a few weeks ago I met a volunteer who is from Buffalo, my hometown. As we conversed I realized how different my Buffalo is from her Buffalo, but we could both still appreciate each others experiences and descriptions. I later met a homeless woman originally from Buffalo, and her idea of the city was vastly different than mine, but it was so interesting to hear her speak. It really proved to me how experiences can make a city so different and individualistic for every person living there.

Another passage that struck me was “A Wall of Fire Rising". The entire passage places emphasis on the great rebel of freedom, Boukman, who contributed to Haitian independence, but then ends on such a solemn ironic note when Guy commits suicide. As the young boy looks down on his father he recites the lines, “one piercing cry that we may either live freely or we should die" (pg 80). I think Danticat uses subtlety, but effectively evokes the question of what freedom really is. Because Guy and his family were a poor marginalized group of people, the official Haitian freedom ended up meaning very little change for them. When I read this story I thought of the people I met at Beans and Bread, and how possibly they see the idea of freedom much less valuable than I see it. It made me wonder if freedom is only an active ideal for those who can afford to benefit from it. I am beginning to see the ties of human struggle between each chapter’s stories, but I am interested to read on to see if deeper purposeful connections are made among the different characters.