Themes and Symbolism in The Farming of Bones
The use of symbolism is evident in the entire novel, which offers the simple language a complex description and understanding. Even though the novel appears simple to understand, the audiences’ interpretation is further complicated by the recurrent symbolism. Apart from symbolism, Edwidge also addresses various themes that replicate the state of the society. Some of the critical aspects that he prioritizes include race, tyranny, loss, identity, and colonization. Through the themes, the novel passes some crucial information concerning people and their way of life, the vices that inflict pain among several members of the contemporary community. The pair can be the best of themselves, which is not the case in real life situation. While it might sound oxymoron, the contrast between real life and dreams encompasses the two protagonists.
Besides, dreams can be seen to be an escape from reality, implying that the sharing of dreams between Sebastien and Amabelle functions as an escape. Even though the two share their willingness to escape, the main question revolves around what they are escaping, which might be their past, present or future (Danticat 2). The introduction of the escape imagery at the beginning of the novel serves to prepare readers for the escapes Sebastien and Amabelle make towards the end of novel. While Amabelle cherishes her Haitian origin, her move of going back to the Dominican Republic implies that she is renewing her past links and hope. Her entrance into the river suggests that Amabelle is neither a Haitian nor a complete Dominican but her residence exists in between the two nations.
Moreover, Islam (22) hold that her positioning between the two countries also shows that there is some effort to enhance integration between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Consequently, there can as well be an interpretation of a desire to have a borderless territorial land encompassing the two nations. As a result, Danticat’s main character in the novel is represented as a therapist. Thus, the narrative that Amabelle explores defines and influences the path towards goodwill resulting in a world that has neither hatred nor colonial interference. Furthermore, greater part of the novel addresses racial prejudice since the Parsley Massacre was incited on racial lines. The aspect of racism is manifested through the viewpoint of Amabelle, an ethnic Haitian with experience in the Dominican culture (Dhar 3).
She gained more knowledge about Dominicans from her long spell of work in the Dominican soil. However, everything changes when her skin color betrays her, forcing her to abandon the lifestyle she cherished, part with Sebastien as well as being compelled to experience a deceitful expedition. Haitians only resided in the Dominican Republic for purposes of work in the sugarcane plantations that demanded unpleasant conditions, which replicates “the farming of bones” moniker. Edwidge Danticat addresses various concepts that were relevant to the ideal society at the time. Issues such as racial segregation signify the level of impunity that characterized the society. Moreover, Danticat also examines matters surrounding loss and colonization. The tyrannical rule of Rafael Trujillo is blamed for the pain and suffering of many individuals.
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