The Body as It Relates to Dissonance in Three Pieces of Literature
A discussion on the body as it relates to dissonance in Nella Larsen's "Quicksand" (1928), Toni Morrison's "Home" (2012), and Edwidge Danticat's "The Dew Breaker" (2004).
# 153885 | 3,166 words | 0 sources | 2013 |
Published on Jun 08, 2014 in English (Analysis) , Literature (General) , African-American Studies (General)
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In Nella Larsen's "Quicksand" (1928), Toni Morrison's "Home" (2012), and Edwidge Danticat's "The Dew Breaker" (2004), the physical body is a manifestation of the cultural, mental, and physical dissonance of the characters from their people. The authors utilize the character's physical body as a microcosm of the greater movements of those affected by the diaspora of people of African descent. In this essay, the writer discusses how, in each of these novels, conflicts with identity, health, and tragedy are reflected in conflicts displayed by the body's condition.
From the Paper:"In The Dew Breaker, the physical and emotional pain held by the Haitian immigrants serves as a connection to their homeland and to each other. The scar on Mr. Bienaime's face serves as a physical representation of the relationship between him and the Haitian community to their homeland. The knowledge of the horrors he has committed follow both him and his victim around for the rest of their lives. The dew breaker is a victim, just as much as anyone he had killed, of the government. The reader is able to observe the cognitive dissonance Mr. Bienaime experiences as he waits in front of the church to kidnap the preacher (Danticat, 187). He must reconcile his actions with his moral beliefs in telling himself that Catholics are not supposed to like Protestants and that he would actually be freeing the people the minister had brainwashed. As he plans to escape, his face is sliced by the preacher, giving him a physical scar to mirror the emotional ones he carries for harming his own people. Even once he escapes the country, Mr. Bienaime cannot escape the knowledge of his crimes. He spends the rest of his life trying to seek absolution through his study of Egyptian burial rites (Danticat, 18). Even as he lies in hopes of keeping his past life a secret, there remains a chance of someone recognizing him. Anne lives in fear that he will be discovered and hunted to pay for his crimes (Danticat, 79). Mr. Bienaime's scar serves as a physical reminder that his connections to Haiti remain present and everlasting."
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