Contemporary Latin American Fiction

Asynchronous Blog Post on Caroline’s Wedding


1. Read “Caroline’s Wedding” by Edwidge Danticat (Blackboard: Course Documents).

3. Pick ONE of the following options and respond in the comment section down below. The deadline is Wednesday, 5/3 before the class.

200-word minimum.


How does the setting of the story, a Haitian-US American family organizing a wedding, shape the themes and conflicts that emerge throughout the narrative? What cultural tensions or differences are highlighted by the juxtaposition of these two cultural contexts?


In what ways does the character of Caroline embody the challenges and contradictions of the immigrant experience in the United States? How do her relationships with her family members reflect larger themes of identity, belonging, and cultural fusion?


What narrative strategies does Danticat use to convey the complex emotions and histories of her characters, and how do these strategies shape our understanding of the story’s central themes?

21 thoughts on “Asynchronous Blog Post on Caroline’s Wedding”

  1. In Edwidge Danticat’s “Caroline’s Wedding,” Caroline represents the challenges and contradictions of the immigrant experience in the United States in several ways. Caroline is a Haitian immigrant who has settled U.S and she must navigate the complex terrain of cultural identity, family ties, and societal expectations.
    One of the primary challenges Caroline faces is the tension between her Haitian heritage and her American identity. Caroline has assimilated into American culture and has adopted American values, such as individualism and independence. However, she also feels a deep connection to her Haitian roots and is torn between her desire to assimilate and her need to maintain her cultural heritage.
    Caroline’s relationships with her family members reflect larger themes of identity, belonging, and cultural fusion. Caroline’s relationship with her mother is particularly complicated.
    Caroline’s relationship with her sister, Grace, also reflects larger themes of identity and belonging. Grace has fully embraced her Haitian heritage and is deeply connected to her culture. She is critical of Caroline’s assimilation into American culture and sees it as a rejection of their shared identity. However, as the story progresses, Grace begins to understand the complexity of Caroline’s identity struggles, and the two sisters begin to reconcile.
    In conclusion, Caroline’s character embodies the challenges and contradictions of the immigrant experience in the United States, particularly the tension between assimilation and cultural identity. Her relationships with her family members reflect larger themes of identity, belonging, and cultural fusion, as each character navigates their own unique path in their journey of cultural assimilation and preservation.

  2. Option One
    The plot of a Haitian-American family planning the wedding of one of their daughters highlights the conflict of assimilation vs keeping the traditions of your culture and family. Caroline is an American-born Haitian woman who is marrying a non-Haitian man. Caroline’s mother migrated to the United States from Haiti so that she could be reunited with her husband. The mother does not like the fact that Caroline is marrying a man who is not Haitian himself, and she constantly tries to remind Caroline of her background by feeding her cow bone soup even though Caroline is tired of eating it. During the family dinner with Caroline’s soon-to-be husband, Caroline’s mother does not bother eating the food that Caroline’s husband had prepared for all of them. Caroline is someone who does not stick to all of her mother’s cultural traditions (only marrying within your ethnicity). Caroline’s mother is someone to clings on to the family’s traditions and culture to the point where it causes tension between mother and daughter.

  3. What separates Caroline from the rest of her family is the fact that she was born in the United States, and this means that the intense fear over immigration documents that consumes her family (and forearm) doesn’t cast a cloud over her head – a privilege she often seems to take for granted. There’s also how her hair is chemically strained and streaked bright copper as well as how she doesn’t like the bone soup at all – a soup that her Ma believes could cure any kind of illness. Most significantly, though, is her upcoming marriage to a Bahamian man, Eric, something that Ma very clearly dislikes, which dramatically influences the relationship between the two and provides perhaps the biggest source of conflict in the story.

    The tense relationship between Caroline and her Ma certainly brings up themes of identity and cultural fusion as their birth in two different countries means that they have completely different identities and especially as Caroline’s is strongly influenced by her culturally fused American upbringing. Keeping in line with cultural fusion, Ma also brings up how no one in the family has ever married anyone other than Haitians yet Caroline is culturally fusing with Eric so even though she feels a sense of belonging to him, Ma is worried, also serving as a reminder of how cultural fusion can often be a tense problem.

  4. One thing that Danticat does very well is that she uses dreams very effectively. Being that this is a realistic fiction piece, Danticat is limited in what she can do in a lot of respects, in that anything she writes must be able to occur in real life. But what Danticat does very intelligently is use dreams as a means to have more unrealistic scenarios occur, as anything can happen in a dream. For example, all of her dreams contain her father, but in some “I tried to run to him, but I couldn’t. My feet were moving but I was standing in the same place, like a mouse on a treadmill.“(154) This dreams serves as a metaphor for how she cant quite get over her fathers death. Its almost as though in a literal sense she understands her father is dead, but she still kind of feels his presence, and feels as though he is around. She feels almost as though her dad is in another room, or at work or something, like he is around but not quite around just like in the dreams. Although she said that she herself said it feels its as though its her fathers spirit visiting her, I think she is feeling a lot of what I am getting at, its just I think she doesn’t quite realize it yet.

  5. The way the setting of the story, a Haitian-US American family organizing a wedding, shape the themes and conflicts is by highlighting the differences between both cultures In other words, throughout the readings you see that the mother is against the fact that Caroline is “breaking” the traditions in terms of marrying a white American man, the way she decided to celebrate her wedding, her soon to be husband not asking for his soon to be wife’s mom for her blessings. The mother is very traditional whereas Caroline is the opposite of her mom and her tradition. However, her mother tries to remind her that at the end of the day she is Haitian. A way she reminds her about her background is by constantly making cow soup, or constantly talking about the fact that she going to marry a white American man instead of a Haitian man. This shows the tense relationship between Caroline and her mother. They both have different point of view when it comes to their culture and have a different understanding especially since Caroline is American so she see things differently in terms of she feels like she doesn’t have to follow the same tradition that her parent followed.

  6. The setting of the story of a Haitian-US American family organizing a wedding, really highlights the concepts of family tradition, heritage, and identity. Throughout the story we see how Grace, her sister Caroline, and her mother be a part of the diaspora in Brooklyn. Their mother was originally an immigrant from Haiti, and already carried many Haitian traditions and beliefs. Where Caroline and Grace practiced these traditions, but their perspective of their Haitian roots were very different from their mother’s because of growing up in the United States and being exposed to both cultures. What separates the sisters from one another was the fact that Caroline was born a US citizen and Grace had to go through the process of receiving hers. This created mixed- statuses within the family because we see how some members of the family are more connected with their Haitian roots and how some are more connected with the US. One of the major plots in the story was how the mother didn’t want Caroline to marry Eric, who was Bahamian and outside of their culture. The mother expresses how Caroline would be the only one to marry a non-Haitian man and tries to “cure” her by encouraging her to drink bone soup daily.

  7. The narrative strategies that Danticat uses to convey the complex emotions and histories of her characters include: setting, sensory imagery, symbolism, and point of views. These strategies help shape our understanding of the story’s central themes because they provide insight on the larger themes of identity, belonging, and cultural fusion. At the beginning of the story we are set in Brooklyn which is where a large portion of the Haitian demographic is located. Grace is now a citizen and expressing her excitement to her mom during a phone call which is immediately subdued. Her mother encourages to get her passport right away. This is the first of many examples throughout the story in which the piece of paper means nothing, it is the physical passport that demonstrates your identity as “American.” The bone broth soup is an example of sensory imagery as the image being portrayed is, “…cow bones stewing in hot bubbling broth.” This imagery reminded me of my own culture, Mexico, and its famous Caldo De Pollo, similarly it is a hot broth, it showcases cultural traditions. An example of symbolism is Caroline’s stub on her left forearm. During class we discussed that it is as if Caroline is missing a connection to her Haitian culture, she was born in the United States. It can also be symbolism for immigrants in general that migrate here since Americans fail to see them as “American.” Lastly a line that stuck out to me was, “Caroline brushed aside a strand of her hair, chemically straightened and streaked bright copper from a peroxide experiment.” Hair plays a huge role in your identity, and Caroline’s hair based on this description isn’t the typical “traditional” hairstyle a person of her culture would have leading Caroline’s mother to label her as, “You think you are so American.”

  8. What narrative strategies does Danticat use to convey the complex emotions and histories of her characters, and how do these strategies shape our understanding of the story’s central themes?

    One strategy that I noticed was the usage of deviance among the daughters to separate themselves from their family, while still upholding the beliefs of the family. It was very fascinating to me to see them ignore their mother yet interpret her teachings in their own way. One example of this is with their panties after the death of their father. As stated in the story, there is a tradition where mothers as well as the daughters that look like her will wear red panties to simulate blood, making it so that in the afterlife, the ghost of their father will not mistake them for their wife and try to get into bed with them. It then becomes a symbol of familial pride, showing how close they were as a family unit. Both Caroline and her sister reject this idea, and opt to wear whatever underwear they wish to under their black clothes, another tradition after the death of their father. This act of deviance could be interpreted as a push away from their culture and cultural practices, and a way to cling to their Americanness. However, in that same light, once they are allowed to wear colors again, they opt to wear black panties, as a way to show their continued grief from the loss of their father. This theme of incoherent deviance is spread throughout the entirety of the work, and Danticat’s usage of the panties to show the rejection, mutation, and acceptance of their Haitian practices is a powerful example of how all transnational individuals struggle with the upkeep of their complex identities.

  9. Option 1
    The setting of “Caroline’s Wedding,” a family of Haitian-Americans planning a wedding, plays an important role in the themes and conflicts that arise throughout the story. The conflict between Caroline’s desire to marry a non-Haitian man, Eric, and her mothers traditional Haitian traditions serves as an example of the conflicts that might result when two cultures come into contact. Caroline’s mother desires that she marry within the Haitian community and respect the values of their own country, while Caroline is more interested in her own desires and individual happiness. In the beginning of the story, Caroline’s mother never really accepts Eric. During the dinner at his house, she barely eats any of the food he makes; thinking the food will not be as good as her own culture’s food. We also see her not accept Eric, when she says he is not financially stable enough to take care of Caroline, but ultimately Cariline shuts it down saying that it’s not that important to her as long as he makes her happy. With Caroline being born in America and her mother immigrating from Haiti; When it comes to their respective cultures, they each hold a different perspective.

  10. In Edwidge Danticat’s “Caroline’s Wedding,” Caroline represents the challenges of the immigrant experience in the United States in several ways. . Caroline’s Wedding” explores the conflicts set off in the Aziles, a family of Haitian immigrants to the United States, when Caroline decides to marry a non-Haitian man. The Aziles embody a situation common to many immigrant families in the United States at the time the story was written. Her mother is from the old generation, as her mother clings tenaciously to the culture of the home country which is Haiti and she finds American ways strange because of the marriage. the younger daughter, Caroline, who was born in the United States, has been completely assimilated by her adopted country; and the older daughter, Grace, who was born in Haiti but has lived for many years in the United States, embodies elements of both cultures and acts as an intermediary between the mother and Caroline.


    Caroline embodies the challenges of the First Generation daughter in the United States, who was born there and has lived there her whole life. She is in an interesting position because both her parents, and her older sister were born back in Haiti. They were undocumented and the ones who immigrated to the United States. Since Caroline was born in the states, she is born with more privileges in regards to the law. Her relationship with her mom, isn’t necessarily bad but there is a gap in terms of them understanding each other. Her mom is a lot more traditional, and wants to keep everything the same. On the other hand, Caroline is marrying a man who is not Haitian. Her mother in many ways opposes this wedding, and isn’t being as welcoming, for example she doesn’t want to make the Wedding Night Dinner. Overall Caroline has a dual identity, she is both Haitian and American. She is ni de aquí, ni de alla. These kind of disagreements definitely make her question her belonging, nonetheless sh still hopes for her mother’s approval.

  12. Option 1

    In Caroline’s Wedding, author Edwidge Danticat examines the difficulties faced by a Haitian-American family planning; a wedding that satisfies both American and Haitian cultural norms. The story’s New York City location contrasts the two cultures and draws attention to the challenges when attempting to meld them.

    Grace, the narrator, is torn between her American upbringing and Haitian heritage. She finds bringing the two cultures which frequently clash. These opposing cultural norms engage in combat at the wedding. The traditional Haitian wedding, which strongly emphasizes the value of family and community, is one thing. Contrarily, the American wedding strongly emphasizes individuality and personal preference. Grace’s attempt to balance these opposing values is a major aspect of the narrative.

    Danticat emphasizes the distinctions between the civilizations of Haiti and the United States throughout the story. For instance, the Haitian custom of offering visitors a substantial meal contrasts with the American custom. Similar contradictions exist between the American emphasis on independence and free choice and the Haitian emphasis on family and community. The wedding will take place in New York City, where people from all over the world come to live and work, further escalating these cultural tensions.

    Danticat underlines the similarities between the two cultures despite these cultural conflicts. Love, family, and tradition are important in American and Haitian cultures. The wedding celebrates these shared ideals as the family unites to support Caroline and her fiancé. The marriage succeeds in the end, and Grace can feel connected to her Haitian and American selves.

    Overall, the themes and conflicts that surface during “Caroline’s Wedding” are shaped by the environment. The contrast between the cultures of Haiti and America draws attention to the tensions and disparities between the two. Danticat, however, also highlights the parallels between the two societies and demonstrates how these opposing principles can be reconciled. The tale is a potent reminder that humanity unites us all despite our differences.

  13. In “Caroline’s Wedding” by Edwidge Danticat, the character of Caroline embodies several challenges and contradictions commonly experienced by immigrants in the United States. Here are some ways in which Caroline represents the immigrant experience Caroline grapples with her Haitian heritage and her American identity. She faces the challenge of assimilating into American culture while trying to maintain her connection to her roots. This struggle is a common theme among immigrants who often navigate between two cultures, attempting to preserve their heritage while adapting to their new environment. Caroline’s family, particularly her father, holds strong traditional values and expectations for her. They desire her to maintain cultural customs and marry a Haitian man. However, Caroline falls in love with an American man, challenging her family’s expectations and highlighting the tension between personal desires and familial obligations. Caroline’s relationship with her parents showcases the generational divide in immigrant families. Her parents hold onto their cultural traditions, while Caroline, as a second-generation immigrant, desires more independence and freedom to shape her own life. This contrast reflects the evolving dynamics within immigrant families as different generations navigate their cultural identities. Caroline’s struggle to fit in and find a sense of belonging in both Haitian and American communities is a significant theme. She faces challenges from both sides—feeling like an outsider in America due to her Haitian background and encountering criticism from her family for becoming “too Americanized.” This tension speaks to the complexities of assimilation and the longing for acceptance in a new homeland.Through Caroline’s relationships with her family members, the novel explores the intersection of cultural fusion and the clash of traditions. Caroline’s wedding becomes a symbolic event that brings together her Haitian family and her American fiancé’s family, highlighting the blending of cultures and the negotiation of different customs and values.

  14. As Grace’s younger sister prepares for her wedding high tensions and visits from the past envelop this mother-and-daughter(s) narrative about the Haitian diaspora and immigrant/first generation experience. This tension arises particularly between Caroline and their mother, Hermine, as their dynamic clashes and is kept at peace practically by walking on eggshells. As they are both from totally different worlds Caroline and their mother struggle to understand each other’s behavior and motivations, as accentuated by Caroline’s upcoming wedding. From the start this wedding pains Caroline’s mother because it is completely different from Haiti’s marriage customs. Caroline is not marrying a Haitian man, instead he is Bahamian, and though Hermine doesn’t disagree about him she remains ambivalent, and as an attempt to detach Caroline from her fiancé Hermine makes bone soup daily in hopes of keeping her daughter safe at home with her. Carlone and her fiancé don’t want a flashy wedding, instead they will marry at the courthouse. Caroline, as born in the States, was lightly scolded on account of her American status when she was younger, an experience all immigrant children know of, and as she grew her American upbringing shaped her differently from her mother and sister, as they lived in Haiti before immigrating and Grace had just received her naturalization certificate, an achievement Caroline takes for granted as she had lived with that security her entire life.

  15. The location of “Caroline’s Wedding,” a Haitian-American family planning a wedding in New York City, has a significant impact on the themes and tensions that surface throughout the story. The wedding is used as a starting point for an examination of the family’s dynamics. Tensions and disputes that occur among the family members as they get ready for the wedding expose their numerous cultural and interpersonal divides.

    The situation with Haiti and the United States highlights the tensions and disparities between the two cultures. Being first-generation Haitian-Americans, the characters in the book frequently struggle to bridge the gap between their two cultures. The older generation of the family holds on to their Haitian traditions, while the younger generation is more assimilated into American culture. The novel explores the conflict between tradition and modernity.

    The narrative also examines the conflicts that exist among the various family members. For instance, Caroline and her sister Gracina’s relationship is strained in part due to their divergent perspectives on cultural identity. While Gracina strongly identifies with her Haitian heritage, Caroline embraces her American identity. Caroline’s impending marriage to a white American man, which raises questions of race and cultural identity, exacerbates this conflict.

  16. In “Caroline’s Wedding” by Edwidge Danticat, Grace serves as a medium between Haitian and American culture within her family. Her sister, Caroline actually embodies the many challenges and contradictions of the immigrant experience in the United States. In contrast to Grace, Caroline was not born in Haiti, showing a lack of cultural tie to the land their mother prides so much. She makes her attempts to connect herself to Haitian culture while also trying to assimilate to American culture. In her pursuant of marriage, she becomes engaged to a man outside of her culture, a common occurrence within the United States. This disappoints her mother and creates a lot of tension, showing the importance immigrant parents hold on maintaining traditional values and preserving culture, despite making the choice to leave their homeland. Many children of immigrant families have to walk the line of cultural identity and tribalism, never truly feeling like they fit in with one group over the other. In a space like America where there are many different races and ethnicities that may live in a certain area, there is a desire to associate yourself with a community. Finding that community can be difficult when people judge you based off of their personal ideas of what someone of a certain culture should act like. Caroline’s mother is judging her daughter based off of her own perception of Haitian pride and traditionalism.

  17. Option 1

    The setting of Danticat’s story is central to our understanding of the themes she presents; mainly the intersectionality that’s present in an immigrant household. The story’s tension is centered around the cultural differences the mother has with Caroline’s husband who is of bohemian descent. It breaks open the idea of the caribbean diaspora being homogenous and singular, and instead leads us to the reality of a region with people who have and want different things.However, even in the family home we see the generational gaps between mother; immigrant daughter; and 1st generation American immigrant. We’re able to better analyze a character like Caroline, and have a clear sense of how she becomes who she is: a blend of the strong cultural ties to Haiti, but also an air of indifference with some of her mother’s demands, like that of her wedding, as she rationalizes her mother’s fear are stoked from the fear of change, even if not major change. Her mother is also interested in preserving her culture, a culture that she’s proud of despite the obstacles she’s faced because of it. This is a meaningful and simple way to transmute these sometimes complex feelings and ideas that are universal to many of us immigrants, but are sometimes hard to define.

  18. Option 2
    In Edwidge Danticat’s story “Caroline’s Wedding,” the character of Caroline represents the difficulties of immigration, adopting new cultures and changing ways of living. Caroline’s mother suffered many things when moving to the United States from Haiti. During this move, her mother believes that Caroline lost her arm due to the abuse that her mother suffered from the detention center while pregnant.
    Throughout the story, we learn that Caroline is getting married to a man that is not from a Haitian descent. Caroline’s mother expresses her disapproval and tries to use her means of Haitian culture to get Caroline to change her mind. At the beginning of the story, we see that their mother would make bone soup. The mother would constantly feed this soup to her daughters. This soup represents the longing to keep Caroline of Haitian descent.
    We also learn the tension and how uncomfortable things are between Caroline and her mother. At the Bridal shower, the mother constantly seperates herself from everyone to avoid facing the reality that her daughter is getting married. The mother has suffered many things when moving and immigrating. She had to adopt a new culture. I think the mother was reflecting her fear and the pain she experienced on Caroline. She was afraid that Caroline might suffer the same when marrying a man from a different culture because, to some point, Caroline is adopting that culture to herself as well.

  19. Option 1
    Marriage is not only a matter between individuals, but also has a great impact on each other’s families. This tendency is particularly strong for those who migrate as a family or live in the same community as people from the same country at the destination. In particular, there is a concern that by marrying someone who has migrated to another country, one’s own language, culture, and customs will not be passed on to the next generation and will be lost. (Americanize) However, it is also true that if you do not adapt to the new land, you will not be able to lead a moderate life there. may not be possible. In this story, the difference in sensibilities between mother and daughter appears in various scenes, but I think that immigrant families from any country have roughly similar experiences. Of course, generational and gender gaps also play a role. If Caroline had been male, her mother’s concerns might have been somewhat alleviated. (In terms of men’s surnames not changing even after marriage, being house of hold, etc.)

  20. Weddings are a major event in a person’s life. They are usually done once and it’s one of those events that bring families together. Danticat’s decision to focus his story on a multi-cultural family arranging a wedding is significant because it presents the perfect motivation for Caroline to confront her two identities. Throughout the story, Caroline struggles with her identity, where she attempts to balance her American upbringing with her Haitian descendent. Some tensions Caroline is faced with is marrying richer. Her mother wasn’t happy about her husband being a janitor even though he made her daughter very happy.

    Additionally, during the wedding dinner at Le Bistro, Eric gives a toast expressing how lucky he is to be with Caroline. While they ate Haitian food, Ma sat quietly and Grace only drank sugared water. They were unable to share a moment with their daughter. The narrator states, “He and Caroline laughed together with an ease that Ma and I couldn’t feel.” Grace and Ma can’t feel the happiness, or “ease” that Caroline and her husband feel. There is a disconnect that is fueled from different cultural expectations. These expectations blind Caroline’s mother from building any connection with Eric. However, while the mother can’t experience the soft connection near the end, she starts to come to an understanding about her daughter’s choice. She compliments Grace for sharing during the toast, “I like how you stood up and spoke for your sister.” This demonstrates how although there are cultural tensions the wedding was able to bring them together because Caroline’s mother was able to accept that she finally moved out.

  21. Option 2
    Caroline is an example of the new generation of children from immigrants. Her mother is from Haiti and went through difficult times for her to be in America. Caroline is Haitian- American growing up in New York which is completely different from her mother. She’s marrying outside her culture and in a legal ceremony rather than a religious one. Caroline embodies the challenges of growing up as a child of immigrants. She takes for granted like her liberty and citizenship. She also isn’t as connected to her Haitian side like her sister. The contradictions of the immigrant experience she portrays is being more “Americanized” and losing her culture in the process. Her being born without an arm is an embodiment of her culture she lost when being born in America and not being connected to her. Her relationship with her mother reflects the theme of generational clash and having a different identity from her mother. They have different views about their culture. The culture fusion Caroline has with her husband is new to her mother. This causes uncertainty and disapproval in her mother when she decides to marry him. But eventually we see that the mother just wants to protect her daughter from new beginnings.

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