With Sophie’s changeover from a comparatively contented existence with her aunt and grandmother in countryside Haiti to life in New York with a mother who she has no memory of, Danticat’s roots as a short-story writer become more apparent; “Breath, Eyes, Memory” begins to comprehend more like a compilation of associated stories than a flawlessly developed narrative. In a combination of short chapters, Sophie comes into New York where she gets to know about her mother, forms a social contact with her mother’s new boyfriend, Marc, and figures out that she was the result of a rape at the time when her mother was a mere teenager in Haiti.
The novel then moves forward a couple of years forward to Sophie’s graduation from high school and her fascination with an elder man who is basically their neighbor. Regrettably, this is in addition the point in the novel where Danticat begins to put down her themes on with a trowel as opposed to a brush: Sophie’s mother somehow becomes preoccupied with protecting the virginity of her daughter, by going to the point where she would conduct physical “tests” on a customary basis, which are tests that lead sooner or later to a fissure in their relationship and to Sophie’s great effort with her own sexuality. Almost immediately the litany of unfair treatment is flying substantial and high-speed: by the final third of the novel, female genital disfigurement, incest, rape, standoffishness, breast cancer, and abortion are the subjects that arise, in due course obscures both fine writing and discerning categorization under an inundation of anguish. As is said, “Late one night, as Martine is babysitting an invalid old woman; she reveals to Sophie that her own mother used to test for virginity by making sure her hymen was intact.” (Breathe, Eyes, Memory: Summary, p.1).
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