Thursday, September 28, 2006

Like Father Like Son, Like Mother Like Daughter

It is not simply coincidence that both Acehebe and Danticat iclude passages that reference their characters' ancestry. Kolvenbach discusses the integral issue of social justice and how it should be approached; I believe that how one actually adresses the issues of justice and faith is, if even subconsciencly, a product of how one's family has approached it.

When Obi confronts his father about his desire to marry Clara, an osu, though it was still considered taboo to associate with anyone who was a descent of osu affiliation, his father Isaac shares his own story of his past. "Mr. Braddeley thought I spoke about the white man's messenger whom my father killed. He did not know I spoke about Ikemefuna, with whom I grew up in my mother's hut until the day came when my father killed him with his own hands"(Achebe, 157). Isaac Okonkwo rejected his father and his beliefs because he refused to let the traditional ways of his Igbo people justify the murder of his innocent adopted brother. Obi had always felt a disdain towards his own father, but when he was chastised for even contemplating a union with an osu woman, he defied his own people for submitting to a social norm that was so obviously prejudiced and wrong, just as his father had before him.

The narrator of the passage Between the Pool and the Gardenias, in Danticat's Krik? Krak! references her martyred heritage and the pride and sense of duty that each of theri stories left her, "I always knew they would come back and claim me to do good for somebody. Maybe I was to do some good for this child"(Danticat, 95). The narrator could have easily been disenchanted when considering the position she held as a servant for a bourgeois couple, and the ill fate that her ancestors met as a result of their Haitian ethnicity. But in this passage she represents the resounding inner hope and faith that each of her descendents displayed when challenged.