Symbolism in The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat Essay

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Symbolism in The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat's novel, The Farming of Bones is an epic portrayal of the relationship between Haitians and Dominicans under the rule of Generalissimo Rafael Trujillo leading up to the Slaughter of 1937. The novel revolves around a few main concepts, these being birth, death, identity, and place and displacement. Each of the aspects is represented by an inanimate object. Water, dreams, twins, and masks make up these representations. Symbolism is consistent throughout the novel and gives the clearly stated and unsophisticated language a deeper more complex meaning. While on the surface the novel is an easy read, the symbolism which is prominent throughout the novel
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Within the first four chapters the Senora is in labor and much to her surprise, and the surprise of the readers, the Senora gives birth to a set of twins. Upon the arrival of the twins it is said that most babies begin as twins but one usually kills the other as a result of having to share the same womb. "Many of us start out as twins in the belly and do away with the other," says Doctor Javier (p. 19). This is an exact parallel to Haitians and Dominicans. The womb is the island that the two nations share, and they are the twins, one of which will most likely kill the other. It becomes abundantly clear throughout the novel the amount of hatred and disgust the two nations have for one another and when one of the twins dies unexpectedly, readers are left wondering which nation will be the first to fall. There was quite a difference between the twins as one was lighter skinned, and the other, much to the family's dismay, had much darker skin. The Dominican Republic was represented by the stronger, lighter skinned, male baby, and Haiti was portrayed by the weak, dark skinned, female child. When, much to the readers surprise, the male child is the one that dies, it implies a sort of uncertain future for the Dominicans. The use of twins is an important aspect of the novel as it allows the author to inform her readers through symbolism as opposed to literally disturbing the story line.

After Kongo loses his son, Joel, he
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