The Significance of the Relationships Between Jake Ray and Harlem in Breath, Eyes, Memory

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The Significance of the Relationships Between Jake Ray and Harlem in Breath, Eyes, Memory

Although in Breath, Eyes, Memory, by Edwidge Danticat, Sophie loves and cares very much for her mother Martine, the relationship between the two women is strained and somewhat adversarial. This is due to the negative circumstances surrounding Sophie's existence. Sophie is the product of her mother's rape, and her mother can not stop thinking about this aspect of their relationship. She has nightmares about the rape every night, and these nightmares are more intense when Sophie is living with her.

The bringing together of Sophie and Martine does not improve the lives of either one of them. Their discomfort with each other is foreshadowed by the nightmares Sophie has of her mother before going to live with her in New York. In the nightmares Martine has "arms like two long hooks" (Danticat, p. 28, ch. 4) and is chasing her, trying to catch her. Sophie's nightmares of her mother resemble her mother's nightmares of her father. Despite their differences, they are bound together by the sa...

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