Edwidge Danticat is an award-winning writer of Haitian descent. Danticat was born on January 19, 1969, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Her parents, fleeing the oppressive regimes of Francois Duvalier and son Jean-Claude, were able to settle in Brooklyn, New York, while Danticat and younger sibling André had to remain behind. After years of correspondence, Danticat and her brother were able to come to the States, being reunited with their parents and meeting two new siblings they didn’t know. Danticat started to hone her craft as a writer during her adolescence.
Danticat went to study French literature at Barnard College in Manhattan, later earning a creative writing graduate degree from Brown University in 1993.
Over the years, Danticat has penned a variety of fiction and non-fiction, chronicling the lives of Haitian citizens and creating vivid, unflinching portrayals of injustice.
“Caroline’s Wedding” is a novella that explores the complexities of diasporic life, the importance of cultural heritage, and the impact of displacement on families. It portrays the story of a Haitian family living in Brooklyn, New York. The narrative revolves around the events leading up to Caroline’s wedding but delves deep into the family’s history.
Throughout the novella, the narrator interweaves flashbacks, reflections on dreams, spiritual beliefs, and family traditions to create a vivid picture of the family’s past and present.
Through the use of symbolism, Danticat paints a portrait of Haitian culture and its struggles, including the history of slavery and the ills of colonialism. The novel’s spiritual undertones and mystical elements highlight the importance of traditions and the spiritual beliefs that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Class Presentation (s)
Discuss in five groups. Look for sections and quotes to support your answers.
Describe the narrator’s family migration story? (139-142)
How the story of her courtship allows the reader to understand, Ma’s resistance to Caroline’s wedding? (142-146)
Explain the following quote from the priest at the ceremony to the dead: “We have come here this far, from the shackles of the old Africans” (146- 149)
How the narrator’s dream about her father permits to reflect on certain beliefs of the Haitians but also on different approaches to mourning? (149- 152)
Reflect on Caroline’s missing arm metaphorically from the perspective of immigration and second-generation livelihood. (153)