Despite the existence of a rich, continually growing body of scholarship on Edwidge Danticat's short-story cycle Krik? Krak!, still under-examined is the theme of flight. This article explores Danticat's development of the theme by presenting a reading of "A Wall of Fire Rising" in relation to the preceding story, "Nineteen Thirty-Seven," and also in connection with the flying Africans legend, Haitian revolutionary folklore, and twentieth-century literary representations of flight such as Alejo Carpentier's The Kingdom of This World and Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. By engaging with these narrative traditions of flight, Danticat is able to establish key linkages across African and Haitian diasporic history, investigate new forms of bondage and entrapment, and also rethink a politics of resistance through a framework of gender.
The writer analyzes the Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat's use of the short story cycle in Krik? Krak! Explaining that the term “short story cycle” implies a structural theme for the working out of an idea, characters, or themes, she maintains that Danticat's use of the genre is closely related to oral narrative and serves as a way of fostering imaginative communities and developing identities. Through technical experimentation with the short story cycle, she contends, Danticat heightens the power of narrative and elucidates the significance of the oral mode to her characters by using a genre that engages themes on different levels. In turning to roots as a source of personal identity and creative expression, she argues, Danticat has appropriated the short story cycle as a metaphor for the fragmentation and multiplicity of ethnic lives in order to articulate the process of ethnic self-identification.
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