Reign of Dictator Rafael, Farming of Bones, Baker
Although simply written in an easily understood narrative tone, The Farming of Bones holds numerous connotations portraying the heightened spite experienced by Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic at the Reign of Dictator Rafael. The heightened tension between the two nationalities led to the heinous carnage of Haitians in the Dominican Republic during the post-colonial era (1937). Through leading characters such as Amabelle Desir, her lover Sebastian Onius and her friend Señora Valencia, the author Edwindge Danticat demonstrates the underlying issues that led to tension between the two countries, eventually leading to the massacre. Danticat also portrays the unfolding of events at the onset of mass killings of Haitians and the aftermath of the massacre especially on Haitian individuals who survived the inhuman ordeal. This paper discusses the massacre of 1937 in reference to The Farming of Bones, what caused it, its effects on both Haitians and Dominicans how the two countries can settle their differences, and move forward as one.
Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the same highland of Hispaniola. However, the economic difference between the two nations in the post-colonial era forced Haitians whose country was engulfed in poverty to cross over to the Dominican Republic. The grass seemed greener on the Dominican soil, and Haitian immigrants hoped for a brighter future. Sadly, Dominicans disregarded Haitians as their equals and perceived them as second class citizens or even worse aliens. In the end Haitians lost both their national and social identity once they crossed over to the Dominican Republic.
[...] Danticat employs Amabelle as the spokespersons of the nameless and faceless Haitian immigrant who experienced brutality against them at the reign of Trujillo. She shares her dreams with her lover Sebastian as the only means of escaping her hostile environment and plight. In the 1st Chapter of the novel, Amabelle laments her life becoming a nightmare that haunts every minute of her existence. She relies only on her dreams to escape her cruel reality. Amabelle's nightmares have gravely affected her life, and as a consequent Amabelle's life has also become her nightmare. [...]
[...] However, the massacre only strengthened the bond between Haitians and the Dominican people. At first glance, the events that culminated to the 1937 massacre might seem as caused by racial prejudice. However, Danticat demonstrates that issues between the two countries can be routed back to the colonial days. The issues of boundaries intertwined by matters of identity constructs are the underlying reason behind the heightened tension between the two countries during the reign of Trujillo. Even though the Dominican and the Haitians are supposed to be one people, the boundaries laid down by colonialists led to their separation. [...]
[...] Trujillo made it seem that his attack on Haitian nationalities in his country was a necessary measure of defending his people from an impending attack by the immigrants. His spite and prejudice against Haitians made him perceive them as inhibitors to prosperity and work. This prejudice he infected the Dominican people with it as well. Trujillo justified his prejudice against the Haitians by claims such as motherland is Spain, theirs is darkest Africa" (260).The “Haitian Fever” made the Dominicans feel insecure about their national identity and individuality in the mere presence of the Haitian people. [...]
[...] Sebastian like other Haitian immigrants misses his motherland dearly. He does not wish to harvest anymore, and he is dying to see his mother (Danticat 147). In the Dominican Republic, life is worse for Sebastian than even his country for he is not only poor, but also alienated. Sebastian lacks both identity and social position. This causes Sebastian together with other cane fields' laborers a psychological pain and torture. Sebastian represents first generation Haitians who migrated to Haiti with to have a better life. [...]
[...] In page 140 of Farming the bones, Amabelle reveals that that she had heard of rumors of fear between Haiti and the Dominican Republic over land, the island. She thought of the rumors as farfetched and not involving her (Danticat). From Amabelle's thoughts, it is quite evident that selfish acts of their presidents in this case Trujillo, to own the whole highland of Hispaniola by wiping out the other half (Haiti) led to the massacre. Even though, Amabelle thought she was not affected by any of the speculations she had heard. [...]
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