During the twentieth century, many Haitians lived a life full of poverty and terror;
do to the many wars and epidemics that were established in the country. Throughout her
novel Krik? Krak!, Edwidge Danticat depicts the violence, brutality and cruelty her
people suffered during that time. In her first two stories, we get a glimpse of the horror in
which the Haitian culture had to endure. Whether it was a group of protesting students
getting gunned down, a young women being gang raped, or an innocent women being
sentenced to life in prison because she was believed to be a witch, the terror and horror
seemed endless. How could a human being treat another in such a manner? How could a
Haitian treat another Haitian with so much cruelty and have that kind of malice for his
own people? Danticat shows us the pain of her people through her words and
demonstrates their healing power through her various short stories.
In her first short story, "Children of the Sea" we are introduced to two young
adults who are in love with one another but who are separated because of the terror which
existed in their Haitian society. Because they feared for their lives, they had to part in
hopes that they would stay alive to see each other once again. The society in which they
lived was became incredibly violent due to the Haitian army trying to rid the country of
anyone who was against the government or who they thought was a traitor. The army or
macoutes, as they were referred to, were cruel and ruthless. One of the young narrators
in the story wrote in her journal "a group of students got shot in front of fort dimanche
prison today…. our neighbor madan roger came home with her son's head…. the
macoutes by the house were laughing at her. they asked her if it was her dinner" (p.7).
The mascoutes mocked and laughed at helpless women carrying around the head of her
dead son, who they had previously shot. They shot him because he didn't agree with the
government and its policies.
But the mascoutes did not stop at just taunting Madan Roger, they also severely
beat her. "the soldiers came looking for her son. madan roger was screaming, you killed
him already …. he hated you like I hate you criminals. you killed him.