The story basically tells us of how a child, who barely remembers her mother, unites with her. It presents to us the relationship that exists between females. It shows that even though Sophie did not know her mother since birth, she is still greatly attached to her to a point where things just go wrong between them due to the beliefs of purity which irritated Sophie.
In the book, we go through a family custom which is passed from mother to daughter that leads to self-destruction and then lack of restrictions for the next age bracket of adulthood of women (Breathe, Eyes, Memory: A Novel, p.1). “Are you free, my daughter?” is the basic question posed to Sophie Cacu Woods after the interment of her mother, Martine, in their mother country of Haiti. Both mother and daughter have been debilitated by ill-treatment that is female-centered and basically is generational in nature: Martine, a person who has survived rape, and Sophie, a sufferer of her family’s tradition of virginity testing. Over time the disturbance of the rape and testing show the way to the collapse of Sophie and Martine’s relationship. When Sophie at last “fails” the test, the women take apart pursuing lives that take account of matrimony and motherhood, sexual dysfunction and bulimia, sexual compliance and the use of chemicals to lighten the mark of an African background. Danticat’s way of managing issues related to virginity testing in relation to rape and family tradition goes further than the instantaneous impact of the practice. As is said, “This tradition is followed in several countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Turkey. A resurgence of the practice has come about due to the wide spread of HIV/AIDS, both as a means of preventing the disease and a way to fulfill the belief that a cure can be found in the purity of a virgin” (Book Review: Breath, Eyes, Memory, p.1). The book portrays the long-standing effects of the act:
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