‘Children Of The Sea’ by Edwidge Danticat

Danticat, Edwidge 1993

Children Of The Sea by Edwidge Danticat, 1993

The magic trick:

The poetic point of view of the man’s letters

This story consists of letters between two separated lovers. Danticat does a very nice job of establishing each with a particular and consistent writer’s voice. We are especially fortunate for the man’s writing ability. He is especially lyrical and sees the world with a poet’s point of view. This is not to dismiss the woman’s writing ability. She represents the horrors back at home in Haiti with a fierceness that gives the story the passionate anger of youth. But it is the man’s letters that provide the symbolism and imagery that haunt the reader’s mind long after the final sentence. And that’s quite a trick on Danticat’s part.

The selection:

This heaven was nothing like I expected. There were starfishes and mermaids all around me. The mermaids were dancing and singing in Latin like the priests do at the cathedral during Mass. You were there with me too, at the bottom of the sea. You were with your family, off to the side. Your father was acting like he was better than everyone else and he was standing in front of a sea cave blocking you from my view. I tried to talk to you, but every time I opened your mouth, water bubbles came out. No sounds.

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