Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Dew Breaker

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Dew Breaker

by Edwidge Danticat

The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2004, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2005, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

Print Review

Poor Haiti! Columbus found the island in 1492 and named it Hispanola. Before long the native Arawak Indians were virtually extinct (Hayti means mountainous land in the Arawak language). By the mid-17th Century Haiti was colonized by the French and was a productive source of cocoa, cotton, sugar cane and coffee. Demand for products created demand for inexpensive labor so slaves were imported from West Africa. By the late 18th century Haiti was one of the wealthiest regions in the world and a comfortable place to be for the lucky few at the top of the Haitian tree. However the problems that still effect Haiti today were brewing. The slaves had brought with them the practice of voodoo which clashed with Catholicism, the French were exceptionally harsh in their treatment of their slaves, creating hatred from an already simmering environment. Lastly, a class of mulattos arose from the offspring of slaves and slave owners creating a class system that is still present today - the majority of Haitians are dark-skinned, voodoo worshiping Creoles, and a minority are light skinned, Catholic, French speakers.

The slaves ousted Napoleon in 1804, following a revolt that began in 1791, creating the first black independent nation. Last year Haiti celebrated 200 years of independence. However, an almost continuous stream of dictators have left a legacy of poverty and violence. In 1844 the island split in two with the larger eastern part becoming the Dominican Republic. The third of the island that remained Haiti is smaller than the state of Maryland.

Today Haiti has the dubious honor of being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with a population of 7.5 million, an infant mortality rate of 74/1,000 and a median age of 18 years.

This article is from the March 2, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: New People
    New People
    by Danzy Senna
    Danzy Senna has spent virtually her entire writing career exploring the complicated intersections of...
  • Book Jacket: Hunger
    Hunger
    by Roxane Gay
    In this penetrating and fearless memoir, author Roxane Gay discusses her battle with body acceptance...
  • Book Jacket: The Black Witch
    The Black Witch
    by Laurie Forest
    In The Black Witch, Laurie Forest introduces her readers to an immersive fantasy world where ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
News of the World by Paulette Jiles

A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Happiness
    by Heather Harpham

    A love story that follows a one-of-a-kind family through twists of fate that require nearly unimaginable choices.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Hame

Hame by Annalena McAfee

A rich, sultry novel about a young American fleeing a crumbling marriage for a remote Scottish island.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A F Out O W

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.