REIMAGINING RETURNS: the Preservation of Caribbean Identity and Generational Trauma of Exiles Through Cultural Memory
Bi-College (Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges). Comparative Literature Program
Place of Publication
Table of Contents
Edwidge Danticat’s Haitian-American novel, The Dew Breaker, and René Marqués’s Puerto Rican play, Un niño azul para esta sombra, present the struggle and internal conflicts associated with offering a perspective of a historical event, throughout generations. Both of these texts are written between the boundaries of cultures that place the narrative in a translocative and transtemporal state, when searching for a symbolic return to past landscapes. Danticat’s novel refuses any uncomplicated access to experiences of trauma, handing over the strain of unraveling the past to the readers, along with the difficulties of erasure and censorship. Marqués’s play shows how the burden of carrying the political ideals and cultures of previous generations has destroyed any chance of a future for the young protagonist, reflecting the effects of trauma on the individual. The role of children is deemed essential in these texts to further their parents desired narratives of their personal history and idealized collective national identity. They interweave individual and communal trauma, thematically and allegorically, in attempts to reconcile with the past.