Counter to many of the critical readings of Breath, Eyes, Memory, this essay argues that Sophie Caco does not in fact succeed in speaking for herself in the novel's final scene, reflecting the text's ambivalent desire to formulate a Haitian identity that will both testify to Haitian history and function untraumatized in new diasporic spaces. Rather, Counihan posits that the novel fails to reconcile its “logic of memorialization” with its “logic of resolution.” Sophie's attempt to claim transcendent Haitian and American identities, because “Haiti will always live in her,” is a much more vexed state of being. Similarly, this essay suggests that Breath, Eyes, Memory is more ambivalent about the reach of Haitian memories and national identity.
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Research Article| March 01 2012
Clare Counihan; Desiring Diaspora: “Testing” the Boundaries of National Identity in Edwidge Danticat's Breath, Eyes, Memory. Small Axe 1 March 2012; 16 (1 (37)): 36–52. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-1548110
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