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The Farming Of Bones

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Professor Hitchcock Elmer Ortiz Ethnic Literature Anastasiya Gorak Krystal Yang Mario Zevallos Karen Ross The Farming Of Bones In literature, innovation is key to making a novel stand out. Novelists can gain high honor and esteem if they can piece their novel in a unique way. Any novel can have themes, symbolism and metaphors but it is those novels that can use these devices in an indistinguishable way that makes them stand out. In the novel The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat, Danticat uses the twin themes of life and death to piece the story together in an innovative way in that she uses history as a means of keeping the memory and dreams of her deceased family members and her fellow Haitians alive in the reader's memory. History can only survive through the retelling and recording of people, places and events. As the main character, Amabelle, faces difficult situations, it is the desire to keep their significance and memory in her mind that pushes her to endure. In examining the novel, Amabelle is the embodiment of Danticat's vision to keep the seemingly unimportant people who pass away alive in our memory. Amabelle is a character that rises against the notion of one man's viewpoint about famous and unfamous people toward the end of the book: "Famous people never truly die...It is only those nameless and faceless who vanish like smoke into the early morning air" ( Danticat 280). ...read more.


It might seem insignificant that she does not know her name but it is important that Amabelle keeps sights such as this in her memory so that this person will be remembered. This young girl is one of the many so called "faceless" people that Danticat wants ingrained in our mind. As the novel progressed into Yves and Amabelle's journey to the border, they run into other people going along the same voyage. Two of the people that are traveling with them to the border get killed by Dominicans and are duly noted by Amabelle. One of these characters is Tibon, a Haitian with uneven farms. Before he is killed, he tells her of his near death experience with the Dominicans, how he had to stand at the edge of a cliff and make the choice between jumping off the cliff to your death or getting killed by bayonets and machetes. He tells her of the group after group of people that had to jump. Tibon faced many injuries and lived to tell his experience surviving the dangerous waters they fell into. During the moments before he faces death, she recounts to the reader the situation that occurs. She, Tibon and Yves were in a town inhabited by Dominicans including a group of young Dominican men whom wanted to start a conflict with them. Amabelle describes the scene in which "Tibon thrust his muscular shoulder at one of the youths who was poking the broomstick at his chest" and "encircled the boy's neck with his more developed arm" burying his teeth into the boy's ear before "one of the boys grabbed Yves' machete and plunged it into Tibon's back" (Danticat 191-192). ...read more.


In a sense, she lives vicariously through her imagination. They have passed but her memories of the happier moments with the three of them increase her hopes of finding those she love once again. Dreams are a tangible means of preserving their lives after their death. People do not become faceless and nameless unless one doesn't write or orate their stories and history to others. Danticat uses these twin themes of life and death in such an innovative way in that life was used to hold the memory of the dead. The novel deals with the real life historical massacre of Haitians by the Dominicans. In order for Danticat to piece the novel in a new way, she had to use themes of life and death in relation to a large topic of history. People question life after death but there is such a thing. If one can preserve the history of people, including their lives, events, and personalities, then their lives never vanish into the air. Life is such a precious thing to have and so when the Haitians lost their lives due to the Dominicans, they had to be a way of retaining the memories of the future. One cannot have a future if we don't have a past. Danticat used her character Amabelle to showcase that the past events and people who have passed are significant for the future of these people. Danticat, through Amabelle, gave the people a face and a name. We need to remember those who seem insignificant to others but whose lives are nonetheless important. ...read more.

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