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 X
The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2004, 256 pages
    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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Eat the Apple
    Eat the Apple
    by Matt Young
    Truth is stranger than fiction. Matt Young's memoir tackles the space in between truth and ...
  • Book Jacket: Educated
    by Tara Westover
    Tara Westover had the kind of upbringing most of us can only imagine. She was the youngest of seven ...
  • Book Jacket: The Girls in the Picture
    The Girls in the Picture
    by Melanie Benjamin
    Melanie Benjamin's fine historical novel about the relationship between two women in the early ...
  • Book Jacket: The Driest Season
    The Driest Season
    by Meghan Kenny
    On a summer afternoon in 1943, an almost sixteen-year-old Cielle Jacobson walks into the family barn...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Sometimes I Lie
    by Alice Feeney

    This brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something a lie if you believe it's the truth?
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The House of Broken Angels
    by Luis Alberto Urrea

    The definitive Mexican-American immigrant story from an acclaimed storyteller.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Y L D W D, Y'll G U W Fleas

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & 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.