Breath, Eyes, Memory Fears

Edwidge Danticat is the author of Breath, Eyes, Memory.   The family struggles with fears such us mental instabilities, loss of virginity and the change that takes place.   Danticat uses fear to relate to the horrors that the Caco women face.
Sophie, the protagonist, inherits mental problems such as nightmares and suicide.   Sophie’s mother, Martine, and her anxieties, testing and fears have made Sophie afraid of her own body.   Sophie said, “After Joseph and I got married…I had suicide thoughts.   Some nights I woke up in cold sweat wondering if my mother’s anxiety was somehow hereditary…Her nightmares had somehow become my own…I spent the night dreaming about… a man with no face, pounding a life into a helpless girl.” (page 193).   Sophie bears the witness of the past when she notices the unseen faces of her mother’s rapist and runs through the place where her mother was raped.   Sophie relives the stress that Martine caused her by burning her mom’s name in therapy because her mom was hurt and hurt Sophie.   She also becomes bulimic, and has sex while doubling to distract herself and free her mind from her body’s pain.   At the end of the novel, Grandme Ife, Sophie’s grandmother, asks Sophie if she is free and Sophie now has control over her own choices and to stop the Caco women’s fears from getting to Brigitte, her daughter.   In the family, their fears are passed down from generation to generation and make them afraid of their future and live in the past.
Being pure makes the Caco women fearful of losing their virginity.   In the novel, testing is one of the difficult moments for the women.   For example, Martine's testing of Sophie is because her own mother had tested on her, which makes this traditional practice, and Sophie’s difficult struggle to avoid passing on their painful inheritance.   In addition, Martine’s and her aunt, Atie’s purity was tested by testing.   These women faced women hood obstacles like when Atie’s fiancé left her and Martine was rapped.   The...