The Distorted Lens: Immigrant Maladies and Mythical Norms in Edwidge Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory

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Valiela, Isabel
immigration; Edwidge Danicat; Haiti; mythical norm; immigrant experience; Caribbean Languages and Societies; Comparative Literature; Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
lecture / presentation description
The immigrant experience is riddled with the complexities of uprooting, and the challenges of fitting into a new environment where the issue of difference plays an important role. An immigrant’s life is multireferential in terms of how he or she views difference and is viewed as different. Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat’s first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory has instances of extreme disfunctionality due to the interplay of past experiences in Haiti and new encounters in New York City, and it includes many scenes in which characters express and negotiate different sets of cultural expectations, trying to reconcile their differences. [excerpt]