Analysis of Kamau Brathwaite, Junot, and Edwidge Danticat and their Literary Works

Analysis of Kamau Brathwaite, Junot, and Edwidge Danticat and their Literary Works

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Analysis of Kamau Brathwaite, Junot, and Edwidge Danticat and their Literary WorksAccording to Kamau Brathwaite, Miami can rightfully be considered a Caribbean Island. What do you think he means by this?

I think Miami can rightfully be considered a Caribbean Island as per the view of Kamau Brathwaite, who considered himself the co-director of the first Caribbean Writer’s summer Institute because of its location in Florida, historically a Caribbean space. Miami bears all the cultural characteristics of the Caribbean people and culture. The culture depicts the way of life of the slaves shipped to deliver their cheap labour to the American farms (Thepostarchive, 2020). Also, the language spoken in Miami comprises Spanish, creating a comprehensive dimension that it was once a Spanish colony. According to Kamau Brathwaite, the colonial versus indigenous influence in Miami and Florida depicts the mixture of the Indian Americans who survived on trade and fishing as their source of livelihood. Most importantly, Kamau’s establishment of aesthetic geography gives the audience the aesthetic map covering the Southern part of the United States, majorly Miami in Florida. The explanation allows the audience to investigate the hidden thread of the postcolonial, colonial and cultural clashes in Miami, which majorly describes the African culture at the grassroots level.

What are some of the Possibilities Kamau Brathwaite envision in this Miami gathering of Caribbean Writers for the future development of Caribbean literature?

Kamau envisions acculturation and inter-acculturation in the Miami gathering of Caribbean writers by describing the assimilation of different cultures into one dominant culture to form creolization as one cultural pattern for the Caribbean and people of African descent. Creolization, as a theory developed by Kamau Brathwaite, describes the culture of the people of the Caribbean and their identity through learning to adopt and imitate various cultures the Caribbean are exposed to and their interactions. After the formation of the Creolization, a language for the literature can be developed to unify the people of the Caribbean identity (Thepostarchive, 2020). The language does not need to be perfect as traditional perception as a dialect he considered pejorative. Therefore, the vision of Kamau Brathwaite honors wood carvings, carnivals, poets, songs, and vodoun that use creole to describe the experience of the people of Caribbean descent. Using the national language creates a long history of people whose origin gets traced to Africa. Furthermore, the nation’s language defines the native resistance to European languages, making it an appropriate tool to express the Caribbean situation.

How can we use what we learnt from the Unit on Caribbean Geology to understand what Kamau Brathwaite means when he describes the language barrier that presently exists in the Caribbean as an artefact?

The Caribbean Geology unit describes how the islands formed from the volcanic eruption from the ocean floor where the islands broke off the North American continents. The coral builds that peeked from the ocean led to the islands’ formation. During the slave trade, many Africans were settled in the Caribbean islands as slaves. The islands were rich in agriculture due to the rich soil. Several Africans lacked a common language for communicating, creating a language barrier. The language barrier led to the formation of creole, a non-standard language for communication (Thepostarchive, 2020). Majorly the language was developed by the African slaves as a mechanism of resisting the European language. Through in-depth communication and the development of literature to describe the experiences of the Caribbean, the creole language was developed by the people of African descent that remain an artefact in literary works hence describing the language barrier that presently exists in the Caribbean.

How does Kamau Brathwaite respond to the issues of the legacy of colonialism and its impact on Caribbean literature?

Kamau Brathwaite responds to the issues of the legacy of colonialism by juxtaposing the African heritages and the effects of European colonization. He describes the oppression of colonization and slavery by seeking to examine the Caribbean cultural past as a repressed identity due to European domination. The use of verse gives a demonstration of his love for jazz and the infirmity of the Caribbean vernacular. Kamau Brathwaite’s search for belonging strives towards understanding the cultural identity eroded by colonialism (Thepostarchive, 2020). Notably, Kamau Brathwaite produced unique experimentation in the languages through assonance and wordplay and wrote the poem “Black and Blues”, which recount the Caribbean people’s cultural history and heritages. As such, the legacy of colonization was majorly based on creating division, inferiority, exile, selfhood and alienation, which led to the development of the creole language for communication; hence used as a communication tool to write the literature of the Caribbean people’s experiences.

According to Junot, how does the experience of the Trujillo dictatorship shape Dominican political culture and national identity?

According to Junot, the experience of the Trujillo dictatorship on the Dominican political culture and national identity get based on his ruthless rule against his people through a dictatorship. Trujillo made the Dominican hate the Black Haitians due to the oppression they felt before gaining independence. As such, he made the country catholic ruled nations with catholic norms. As a national identity, he places Dominican as martial law. The law required each working citizen to donate a tenth of the salary to the national treasury. Dominicans became isolated due to dictatorial rule. The rule was also based on racial segregation and the development of the language for communication (America-The Jesuit Review, 2017). Besides the negative impacts, Trujillo improved sanitation, constructed new roads for the movements and increased the general living standards of the Dominican people. The assumptions of absolute control of the Caribbean nation created a sense of identity through whim the Caribbean could easily be identified.

How does Junto Challenge the Criticism of his activism?

Junot was criticized for his work of using sexist language. However, he fought for the minority rights like the institutionalization of gender equality. Also, Junot’s activism fought against oppression and the need to develop the immigrant life, challenging the criticism of his activism. By addressing the plights of marginalized groups, he offers advice to those feeling oppressed in the political and social climates. Also, he encouraged the students to take advantage of the available resources that surround them in school time as a tool for fighting oppression. According to him, people should educate themselves like the system they inhibit (America-The Jesuit Review, 2017). His activism fought against the racial and ethnic stereotypes which had taken shape in the Northern American continent. Furthermore, the challenge of those criticizing him was exhibited on a long-term basis by acting as a tutor who sensitized college students on the need to work smart in school to eradicate the social vices in the community.

How does Edwidge Danticat describe the tension between magic and reality in the part of the conversation?

The tension between magic and reality get depicted by the Danticat through the depiction of the suffering that the Haitians undergo despite the opportunities which are present in the country. It seems magic that the citizens are suffering. Through recognising the ambivalent relation to home and memories, Danticat creates a life magic that describes the family and living life through the struggle to create happiness (PBS NewsHour, 213). Notably, Haiti’s citizens hope one day they will experience change against oppression, slavery and despair. The change characterizes the freedom away from stagnation. The reality remains that there exist resources which can uplift the living standards of people, but the existence of corruption, oppression and the mismanagement of resources makes poverty a line of duty in the country.

What, according to Danticat, is the general story she wants to tell about Haiti?

A general story which Edwidge Danticat wants to tell about Haiti is poverty. Danticat’s work in “A wall of Fire Rising” creates an imagery of life in Haiti from the proletariat and the bourgeois. Pointing the poor family and the difficulties they endure in Haiti is caused by the political and economic oppression of individuals from the lower social class. High unemployment rates and economic hardship of the lower class describe the part of the conversation that Danticat ant to tell (PBS NewsHour, 213). The feeling of guilt characterizes men as they could not provide a good life for the family due to oppressive and dictatorial rule. According to Danticat, despite the challenges that the Haitians are undergoing, there is hope. Hope gat based on the predicted freedom and economic liberalization through the exploitation of natural resources.

In this clip, Edwidge Danticat talks about her device of looking back and reaching forward. What do you think this device accomplishes for her as a Caribbean writer?

The device of looking back and reaching forward reflects the immigration life she had experienced in a foreign country. Immigration life was characterized by challenges that outnumber the ones from her country. However, she remained limbo with nowhere to follow since the home was full of oppression, poverty and lawlessness (PBS NewsHour, 213). Notably, she describes the theory of trauma as a system caused by increasing stress from home and the life of immigrants. However, there is hope, freedom and progress since the home country eradicates despair, enslavement and oppression.

According to Danticat, how does it help Caribbean immigrants when they listen to the music of their homeland, appreciate the art of the homeland, and read stories about their home countries?

According to Danticat, Caribbean immigrants originate from the African continent. Immigration led to a new culture, which they consider a common origin against colonialism. The Haitian listening to the music of their homeland creates a harmonic view of the world and the experiences of the Haitians as African immigrants. It also acts as a dimension through which the Haitians can reflect on their culture and appreciate one another, creating love and unity against discrimination and social prejudice (PBS NewsHour, 213). According to Danticat, the Haitians reading the stories of their home countries enabled them to respect the African heritage and create an understanding of the need to unify the people through nationalism. Consequently, Haitians reading the stories about their home countries enable them to work hard towards economic and political liberalizations for a sustainable life. Appreciating the homeland’s art creates a mechanism of writing literature as a historical approach to Haitian cultural identity.


America-The Jesuit Review. (2017). Junot Díaz talks about religion, Dominican identity, and writing. YouTube [Video]. NewsHour. (2013). Edwidge Danticat Reaches Back — and Forward — in Her New Novel Set in Haiti. YouTube [Video]. (2020). Kamau Brathwaite – Caribbean Writers and Their Art: History, the Caribbean and the Imagination 1991. YouTube [Video].