Breath, Eyes, Memory

Mother-Daughter Relationship in Breath, Eyes, Memory

Sophie Caco, in Breath, Eyes, Memory, quotes her mother, “There’s a difference between what a person wants and what’s good for them” (72). In Edwidge Danticat’s novel, there is conflict between what Sophie wants and what her mother, Martine, believes is good for her. While Sophie wants to live in the great realm of Providence, her mother has a specific idea of what is good for her daughter—remaining pure until marriage, being the ideal, obedient daughter, and studying to become a doctor. The narrative voice in Breath, Eyes, Memory conveys how Sophie wholly violates her mother’s concept of what is good for her; Sophie becomes free from Martine in order to seek her Providence because she wants to finally put behind her the anguish of her mother’s horrifying past.

Martine’s horrifying past is one of the things that links her to her daughter. The ultimate impression Sophie gets of her mother before a six year time lapse in the narrative is the tragic story of how she was born. Part One ends with Martine divulging to Sophie that, “A man grabbed me from the side of the road, pulled me into a cane field, and put you in my body” (61). Martine and Sophie are now both linked by a rapist. Although Sophie does not say it explicitly, the...

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