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- Vrinat-Nikolov, Marie (1960-)
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Someone says, Krik? You answer, Krak! And they say, I have many stories I could tell you, and then they go on and tell these stories to you, but mostly to themselves. Trinh T. I remembered a Jacqueline who went on the trips with us, but I was not sure this was the same woman. If she were really from the river, she would know. She would know all the things that my mother had said to the sun as we sat with our hands dipped in the water, questioning each other, making up codes and disciplines by which we could always know who the other daughters of the river were.
He too spoke his dreams aloud in the night, to the point of sometimes jolting himself awake with the sound of his own voice. Another character in the story, Claude, an Haitian-born young man who was expelled from the US after committing patricide, is also a palannit. Claude was a palannit, a night talker, one of those who spoke their nightmares out loud to themselves. Words are once again used to raise a wall against suffering and keep silence at bay. As the narrator of the Epilogue says in Krik?
But silence is also worked into the text as an empowering tool. If silence is a tool of oppression, it can also be used as a tool of liberation, just as language and literature were once used in the imperialist scheme and revertedly in the decolonising process. It is through silence that the retrieval of voice appears to be made accessible.
The fact that communication is closed upon itself not only heightens the pathos but also ties in with what is being said in the story. The context is that of the darker years of the Duvaliers regime in the s, one of silencing and abducting, systematic rape and torture. The boy had taken part in resistance actions that involved a radio broadcast, the private voice thus being projected into the public sphere. I thank god you got out when you did. The family of the girl disagrees over whether they should intervene, they listen in, the father forcing his wife to remain silent.
There is a crack at the bottom of the boat that looks as though […] it will split the boat in two.
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The captain […] used some tar to clog up the hole. People are just watching. Now we have three cracks covered with tar.
The text delivers in parallel the two streams of consciousness, visually differentiated on the page — and this is another proof if need be of the importance of the organization of the written space in the problematics of speech and silence. But beyond the physical silence worming its way into the page, a strange kind of dialogue unwittingly operates between the two women as they seem to respond to each other in spite of the cross-generational and cross-cultural divide. In the three stories mentioned, silence is at the heart of speech, but the consciousness of it brings the characters closer to the constitution of a self outside and away from silence.
The fact other people are listening in, trying not to make themselves heard, also comes across in the doubleness of free indirect speech. Silence is essential not only to the writing process itself but to the process of building an identity as a writer. In a quite literal sense, claiming and transforming silence is a crucial aspect of finding a voice. Edwige Danticat wages her battle with silence in such a way that it enables her to transform it into an act of self-discovery, self-definition and ultimately an act of liberation.
If it is true that a writer can be involved in a dialectics of orality, without actually using the obvious tools of orality, it is also true that silence, when inserted within the text, heightens the possibility of speech.
Vrinat-Nikolov, Marie (1960-)
Caruth, Cathy. Chancy, Myriam J. Danticat, Edwige. The Dew Breaker. Knopf, Davis, Rocio G.. Ingram, Forrest L. The Hague: Mouton, Search: Search. Our Stories Products per row 3 columns view 2 columns view. V Neck Knit Navy. Sherpa Jacket Midnight Stone. Crew Knit Black. Crew Knit Navy. Half Zip Knit Grey Marl. Grey Marl. Protector Jacket Navy. Crew Knit Dusty Olive. Full Zip Knit Dusty Olive. Jacquard Knit Dark Navy.
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