Short Stories for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context, by Ira Mark Milne, Thomas E. Barden

By Ira Mark Milne, Thomas E. Barden

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After his death in 1971, the waves of refugees increase. Most refugees in this second group are poor people, fleeing the miserable conditions under the corrupt regime of Franc¸ois Duvalier’s son, Jean-Claude Duvalier (‘‘Baby Doc’’). S. government begin to impose sanctions on Haiti. The number of Haitian refugees grows as poverty intensifies under the sanctions. Sanctions are in place from 1990 until 1994, when Aristide is reinstated as president. 1990s: In 1990, the flow of Haitian boat people temporarily stops following the presidential election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Danticat’s parents wanted her to pursue a career in medicine, and with the aim of becoming a nurse, she attended a specialized school in New York City. However, she soon abandoned this course and earned a degree in French literature from Barnard College, where she won the 1995 Woman of Achievement Award. She was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1993. Her thesis at Brown was her highly acclaimed first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994). In 1998, the television celebrity Oprah 1 8 S h o r t Danticat’s work has attracted many awards and award nominations.

Caroline’s Wedding,’’ in common with many of the Krik? Krak! stories, examines this phenomenon. Grace accompanies Ma to a service for a Haitian woman and her baby who died on their way by boat to the United States. Grace’s own family, too, escaped poverty by immigrating to the United States. The price paid for greater security and freedom is, however, often severe, and the story shows the terrible effects of diaspora (dispersion of people from a single region into far-ranging locations). Grace’s father had to take vows in a false marriage to gain entry to the United States.

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