The Dew Breaker

Edwige Danticat weaves in narratives of trauma and resiliance in her novel, ‘The Dew Breaker,’ which asks the question, 'when there are both hunter and hunted, who has experienced trauma?' This novel in particular is unique in that it is a series of intertwining short stories that takes the reader through the lives of several Haitians and Haitian Americans, whose stories all ultimately tie into traumatic experiences related to the Duvalier regime and its subsequent downfall.  We have chosen eight sounds that illustrate moments from the book where we have identified trauma in some capacity.


The characters in this novel demonstrate are effected by a variety of traumas- while some are exposed to the direct effects of the Baby Doc regime, others deal with trauma indirectly, watching loved ones undergo a constant struggle with trauma. Throughout the novel, tension between Haitan and American identites prevail, a theme very common in many of Danticat's works. 


This exhibition of sounds can be broken into two categories: literal translations of trauma, and emblematic representations of trauma. Although the sounds may not be traumatic themselves, they are representatives of a moment or situation that was a part of a character’s trauma. They could trigger the recollection of an event for the character, in the same way that many diagnosed with PTSD have auditory triggers. These sounds, which may seem ordinary to those who have not experienced a related trauma, can be very emotive to some of the characters throughout the Dew Breaker (see Boeing 777 Airplane Takeoff  and "Please Hang Up and Try Again" entries as examples).