Cultural Identity in 'Krik Krak' by Edwidge Danticat
Seminar paper from the year 2002 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (Seminar für Englische Philologie: Forschungs- und Lehrbereich Amerikanistik), course: Culture Studies IV: Key Concepts in Culture Studies, 14 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Krik? Krak!by the Haitian author Edwidge Danticat is a collection of short stories that has received wide recognition on the international book market and in literary circles. Danticat, who has already been awarded many literary prices in her young career, presents her native country Haiti in many facets, thereby conveying an impression of its beauty and cultural richness with all the positive and negative aspects. The title of the collection refers to 'the Haitian tradition of the storyteller calling out 'Krik?' and willing listeners gathering around and answering 'Krak'' (Atanasoski), which already suggests the importance of stories in Haitian culture, and furthermore hints at the Haitian way of life.Krik? Krak!offers a fascinating approach to this Haitian culture and the tradition of story-telling. Furthermore, the reader gains an insight into Haitian reality from very different, though mainly female, perspectives; Danticat's writings emphasize the experience of Haitian women from all social levels. All short stories inKrik? Krak!present interesting aspects of Haitian culture, but I have decided to refer exclusively to the last short story of the collection, 'Caroline's Wedding.' In contrast to the other short stories, the plot of 'Caroline's Wedding' takes place in the U.S., introducing to the reader a Haitian immigrant family living in New York. Apparently, the immigrant experience is central to many of Danticat's writings. Beyond this, 'Caroline's Wedding' reflects on Haiti's culture from a distinct cultural setting, which makes the story very suitable for an examination of cultural identity. Generally, in order to understand why so many Haitians emigrate from their home country, and to understand Danticat's allusions to incidents of the past, some information about Haiti's history might be helpful. Moreover, the impact of the immigrant experience on Danticat's life will be pointed out by giving some information about her biographical background. In 'Caroline's Wedding,' Danticat touches upon many aspects of the immigrants' situation in a foreign country, but the question of identity is certainly central to it. The story deals with three women who represent different stages of naturalization in the U.S., and different levels of identification with the U.S. and Haiti.
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