Edwidge Danticat’s “Brother, I’m Dying” Themes Free Writing Sample

Introduction

In her memoir published in 2007, Edwidge Danticat tries to gather the whole picture of her broken family’s life: when Edwidge was four, her mother left the children with their uncle in Haiti to join her father in New York. At the age of twelve, Edwidge reunited with her family members in Brooklyn, struggling to accept the pain of their parting. Having analyzed Brother, I’m Dying, I suppose that themes of family love and its importance, reflections about the meaning of death, and the tremendous role of words that create the family’s story are the most essential in the memoir.

Discussion of Brother, I’m Dying Themes

The Role of Family in a Personal Well-Being

Part One. The chapter “Have You Enjoyed Your Life?”, paragraphs 127-134: “Pop.” Bob rubbed his eyes with his balled fists….”Have you enjoyed your life?”… “Yes, you can say I have enjoyed my life.”

That passage describes Edwidge’s father’s view on his life accomplishments. He (André Miracin Danticat) mentioned that he failed to see many places and could not call himself glorious because he did not do many things. However, André is proud of his children and grandchildren and thanks to God for them. The conversation happened when the father recognized he could die of end-stage pulmonary fibrosis, and therefore he wanted to discuss the future of his family. Mr. Danticat knew from his doctor’s report that his condition is incurable but stayed optimistic because he used to protect his family from sad or frightening news. For example, in his letters, the father reproduced his emotions with caution, “avoiding too-happy news that might add to the anguish of separation, too-sad news that might worry” (Danticat, 2007, Chapter “Have You Enjoyed Your Life?”, para. 140). For many years his ability to show his tenderness to his daughter was limited, so other people, for instance, Marie Micheline, told Edwidge stories about his care (anecdote about cookies, Chapter “Heartstrings, Shoestrings”). In the stated passage, he finally reveals his feelings towards his family.

I agree with the author that the strongest bonds in the world are our bonds with family members. Even if we rarely tell each other about our love and pride, we still feel confident that somebody cares about us. I am amazed at how quickly Edwidge established the connection with her brother Karl when he hugged her: “It was, and remains, the best welcome I’d ever had in my life. It felt like love” (Danticat, 2007, Chapter “Gypsy”, para. 8). I almost feel the same when I meet members of my family who live far away from me. First, I feel estranged, but invisible ties take their toll, and warm feelings appear quickly. The knowledge that somebody is praying for my well-being, as Edwidge’s uncle prayed in forsake of his dying brother (Chapter “Brother, I Leave You with a Heavy Heart”), fills me with the confidence to overcome any obstacle and maintain hope. I believe that my children will become my “repozwa”, my sacred place to rest, as Haitians say.

The Death that Determines Our Lives

Part One. Chapter “Good-bye”, paragraph 50: “Death is a journey we embark on from the moment we are born… we wouldn’t weep, but rejoice, just as we do at the birth of a child.”

As a pastor, Joseph Dantica often saw death. In that passage, he shared his vision that death is just “another kind of birth” and that we all are dying from the moment of our birth. Joseph Dantica, Edwidge’s uncle and “second father,” was determined to make a change in people’s lives surrounding him and his thoughts of death possibly were the source of his strength. Maybe, his decision to stay in his homeland during the dark times of war and violence could be explained by his beliefs. Uncle Joseph said about his willingness to spend his life in Haiti that “someone has to stay behind, to receive the letters and greet family members when they come back” (Danticat, 2007, Chapter “The Angel of Death and Father God”, para. 19). His terrible death in the USA on a land that did not welcome him was heartbreaking. Edwidge Danticat says that her “uncle had clung to his home, determined not to be driven out” (Danticat, 2007, Chapter “Brother, I’ll See You Soon”, para. 37). Uncle Joseph was not afraid of dying and set an example of the correct attitude towards death for other people.

I think that embracing death by Uncle Joseph is related to the principle of “memento mori”. If we want to live a purposeful life, it is crucial to remember death. Life could be bitter, but death makes us equal, as was noted in one of Granmè Melina’s stories. “the Angel of Death doesn’t play favorites” (Danticat, 2007, Chapter “The Angel of Death and Father God”, para. 48). Death makes us think of our behavior and impact on other people. I suppose that the greatest impact that we can make is the contribution to the lives of our friends and family. Death is needed because it makes our lives a complete piece. In addition, we should not be afraid of it because we will live in our children as our ancestors continue their lives in us. When I was a child, I considered death to be horrible and unfair. However, nowadays, learning from my life experience, I see that death could be calming because we live when we are remembered by our beloved.

The Power of Words

Part Two. Chapter “Transition”, paragraph 92-111: “Granmè Melina once told a story about a daughter whose father had died… For it is not our way to let our grief silence us”.

In this passage, Dantica describes Granmè Melina’s story about a daughter with a broken heart after her father’s death. A wise old woman who could travel between the worlds of the living and the dead decided to help her. However, the father was reluctant to return, saying that his home was “now here, in the land of the ancestors” (Danticat, 2007, Chapter “Transition”, para. 107). From that moment on, the grieving daughter decided to speak of her father and never let her tragedy silence her. Danticat admits that her father was not able to write eloquently: “Listening to my father …I used to dream of smuggling his words” (Danticat, 2007, Chapter “Have You Enjoyed Your Life?”, para. 135). As for her uncle, all his writings were burned by the gang when he was accused of collaboration. Therefore, Edwidge took on an important mission, stating, “I am writing this only because they can’t” (Danticat, 2007, Chapter “Have You Enjoyed Your Life?”, para. 149). Her work is an opportunity to assemble the puzzle of her life from fragments of the past and look at it from another perspective.

From my point of view, losing one’s voice is one of the most excruciating things that could happen to a person. In Danticat’s book, that disaster occurred to Uncle Joseph because of a terrible tumor. Therefore, he saw the getting of an artificial larynx as God’s miracle. Metaphorically, we lose our voice when we cannot protect ourselves, talk about our life, achievements, and sufferings, and share our feelings. Telling the story of our life and our family is one of the ways to understand ourselves and the world around us. For example, the story of the injustice as one that happened to the uncle of the writer in the Krome Service Processing Center could open other people’s eyes to the problem of racial discrimination. It’s great when people have the freedom to express their thoughts: this is how power works of art appear and then affect our lives and views. Such masterpieces could be studied at school, and people should re-read to absorb the experience and knowledge of previous generations and never repeat their mistakes.

Conclusion

In Brother, I’m Dying, Danticat raises the problems of maintaining a family in a period of political clashes, the meanings of death, and storytelling in our lives. The novel promotes human rights and analyses the consequences of living torn between different countries: Haiti with its corruption and violent gangs and the USA with racial prejudices. Observing such injustices, Danticat feels the need to speak out and realizes the power of words.

Reference

Danticat, E. (2007). Brother, I’m dying. Alfred A. Knopf, division of Random House.

A Political Analysis Of Botswana And Djibouti Developing

Introduction

The aim of this essay is to compare the two countries in terms of the political structure and structure of social life. Two African countries, Botswana and Djibouti, were selected for consideration. Despite the difference in economic development and political structure, many aspects of the life of these countries are quite similar to each other. In particular, it makes sense to focus on the negative aspects of the political and social structure of these countries. This is necessary in order to characterize the problem areas inherent in the arrangement of life in many developing countries and to establish the possible reasons for their emergence and maintenance. Botswana and Djibouti are African countries with similar characteristics in terms of social and political violence, the elimination of which is an unresolved issue on the future agenda.

Overall Characteristics

On the whole, undertaking to compare the political life and social customs of the two African countries for comparison, it makes sense to characterize the geopolitical situation that has developed on the continent over the past hundred years. Social conflicts in Africa are a rather complex topic for discussion, which is often obscured by the obscene notions of Western civilization, which tends to use prejudice in its judgments. Western colonization largely shaped the image of modern Africa, in particular, dividing the continent into specific countries and regions.

It should be noted that after the decolonization process, there was much less bloodshed on African lands. Each country has its own specific percentage of ethnic minorities whose rights are generally not suppressed by violence. This reduces the risk of civil war, and clashes between armed government officials and insurgents in general have become less and less over the 21st century (Driscoll, 2021). At the moment, African countries for the most part live on the principle of mutual non-invasion (Aucoin, 2017). The Organization of African Unity has provided relative peace on the borders of African states, and at the moment there are virtually no conflicts between African countries.

However, this does not mean that there are no social conflicts and political tension within individual African countries. Moreover, the escalation of this tension could be associated with the relative development of each African country and, accordingly, the growing demand for human freedoms, including democratic freedom of choice (Raleigh and Kishi, 2020). Considering countries such as Botswana and Djibouti, one can draw fairly full-fledged conclusions about the political structure of the countries of modern Africa and the internal conflicts that accompany their gradual development.

Political Situation in Botswana

While political instability is almost synonymous with state building in African countries, Botswana compares favorably with most other states. The country is said to represent a full-fledged intercultural inclusive community that calls for international and intercontinental unity. Botswana calls itself a democracy where opposition parties are given the opportunity to form coalitions. However, despite the fact that the situation appears sufficiently in a democratic light, the opposition parties still cannot compete sufficiently with the leading one (Holm 135). This is primarily due to the lack of historical precedent. Paradoxically, being not banned and having the right to free activity, these parties do not receive sufficient incentive to form into a significant opposition capable of changing the alignment of political forces.

A separate case worth considering in this context is the situation with the 2019 elections. The Democratic Party of Botswana has once again won the election despite conflicting middle-class responses to the current president. An obstacle to the victory of the opposition party was its unification with the forces of the former president of the country, who was trying to regain positions. This coalition was perceived by opposition supporters as weakness and concession, and they did not want to vote for the previous president (Seabo and Masilo 65). Post-election protest scores were quite low compared to, for example, South Africa (AfricaNews, 2021). Thus, political violence in the country is very low, which is due to historical and economic characteristics, since Botswana is a diamond-mining country, which has a positive effect on its economy.

The real problem within the country is gender-based violence. The persecution, humiliation and abuse of women in the country is extremely high. In 2020, an initiative group was created calling on the government to pay attention to the problem in the context of a lockdown, when women risk being locked away alone with their torturers (Thobega, 2020). The problem of gender-based violence in Botswana captures the vast majority of women in the country, reaching the most sophisticated ways of implementation.

Political Situation in Djibouti

Another African country called Djibouti shows an average level of danger. The main crime in the country concentrates on cases of theft and petty theft. However, the country’s relatively low level of violent crime does not mean that Djibouti does not suffer from similar problems often found in African political systems. In particular, the incidence of political violence in Djibouti is quite high. There is one dominant party in the country, while the president has remained the same since 1999. This situation is supported by the crackdown on political protests and opposition rallies. Opponents of the dominant party accuse the president of dishonest, fraudulent elections and lack of freedom of speech. International election observers in Djibouti, however, said they had not observed any violations, despite the fact that the figures collected by the country’s leader are absolutely unprecedented. All of this describes the political situation in the country as complex and contradictory.

In general, Djibouti’s credibility as a country with free speech is low. Djibouti was named “not free country” according to one of the authoritative American ratings (Freedom House, 2020). Among the discriminated segments of the population there are also women who are at regular risk of abuse, physical, psychological and sexual violence on a daily basis (Bureau of Democracy, 2021). In addition, in Djibouti, there have been cases of extermination of opposition forces, state pressure on ethnic groups, as well as disappearances of people that have not been investigated by the state (Douala, 2021). This characterizes Djibouti as a country with a high level of political lack of freedom and repeated cases of violent oppression.

Conclusion

It should be noted that the available information field is still not dense enough to assess the real situation in the African countries. Information warfare takes place in both cases in the essay, as the leading political party seeks to silence opponents and play down violent political conflicts. At the same time, the level of lack of freedom of speech and crime in both countries is quite high. Discrimination against minorities and persecution of women, which are stigma for African society, deserve special mention. Thus, despite the significant difference in development and economic well-being, both countries show similar and comparable socio-political problems.

Works Cited

Aucoin, Ciara. “Less armed conflict but more political violence in Africa.” Institute for Security Studies, 2017. Web.

Botswana pulls off all-round incident free general election.AfricaNews, 2019, Web.

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. “2020 country reports on human rights practices: Djibouti.” US Department of State, 2021, Web.

“Djibouti.” Freedom House, 2020, Web.

Douala, Cameroon. “Several dead, houses razed amid ethnic fighting in Djibouti.” Anadolu Agency, Web.

Driscoll, Jesse. “Social conflict and political violence in Africa.” Stanford SPICE, Web.

Holm, John D. “Elections in Botswana: Instituonalization of a new system of legitimacy.” Elections in Independent Africa, edited by Fred M. Hayward, Routledge, 2019, pp. 130-158.

Raleigh, Clionadh, and Roudabeh Kishi. “Africa: The only continent where political violence increased in 2020.” Mail & Guardian,  Web.

Seabo, Batlang, and Bontle Masilo. “Social cleavages and party alignment in Botswana: Dominant party system debate revisited.” Botswana Notes and Records, vol. 50, 2018, pp. 59-71.

Thobega, Keletso. “Botswana sets up gender violence courts to tackle pandemic backlog.” Reuters, Web.

Foreign Direct Investments In Democratic Republic Of Congo

For a long time, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been considered as a country unattractive for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). Since the 1990s, the country has experienced endless periods of violence that have hampered its political stability and economic growth. There are high rates of poverty and unemployment, especially among the rural populations. However, the country is also abundant in natural resources such as iron ore, phosphates, oil, wood, and potassium. This is in addition to its vast agricultural productive lands. On the other hand, DRC has a population that is heavily urbanized and has been lately trying to diversify its economy. Its goal is to become an emerging market economy by the year 2025 (FDI in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2021). Towards this end, it is developing its infrastructure along four special economic or foreign trade zones.

One of the special economic zones that DRC has opened for the FDI is in real estate. Incidentally, this is a sector that requires an abundant supply of building materials and finishing equipment such as doors and windows. Therefore, a global company involved in the manufacture of doors and windows will find a huge but untapped market in the DRC’s emerging real estate. The country’s capital, Kinshasa has a population of 14 million. The biting levels of poverty in rural areas is driving more people into cities. This implies that the populations in cities are bound to increase further. These people will need houses to live in, hence, the need to expand the real estate. Moreover, the government has limited and reduced the legal restrictions involved in the repatriation and transfer of investment-associated funds. Therefore, by partnering with the government to solve the housing crisis in the DRC, a global firm can be guaranteed state protection for FDI in the country.

Reference

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (2021). Lloyds Bank. Retrieved.

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