Who are the victims in The Dew Breaker? (Presentation)

In The Book of Miracles chapter we get Anne’s point of view and through that we learn a bit more about her view of Ka’s father and her feelings about being married to him. One major theme that I feel like came up in the first chapter was her father shifting from being a victim to becoming a victimizer. He’s introduced as a man who was in prison in Haiti and was treated harshly and thus gained his scare but we learn that he was actually one of the people who inflicted scars similar to that and death on many people. Continuing on with that theme, The Book of Miracles, gives the reader Anne’s point of view on this whole situation and how we personally deals with her husband having been a “dew breaker” and likens her guilt and shame to that of Emanuel Constant (who is a real person) and how he must have felt after doing what he did. Anne says “A long time ago, more than thirty years ago, in Haiti, your father worked in a prison, where he hurt many people. Now look at him. Look how calm he is. Look how patient he is.” The way in which we learn about the reality of Ka’s father is presented in such a way that he begs our compassion and even sympathy. The whole idea of who is the victim and who is the victimizer blurs just a bit. It’s typical to have sympathy for people who have been through traumatic events but to have a similar sympathy to someone who caused that traumatic event,  doesn’t allow the reader to so easily take sides.


We get a similar picture in the chapter Night Talkers. In this chapter the reader is taken into Dany’s perspective as he goes home to Haiti to inquire from his aunt if Ka’s father is really the man who killed his family and caused her (his aunt) to go blind. Dany tells us about his going back and forth over whether or not he is going to kill Ka’s father, but it’s fact that he could have the wrong man that stops him because he doesn’t want his wife to be widowed and the child an orphan. Dany doesn’t know what the reader knows, but ultimately it’s this personification of Ka’s father that stops him. Which makes the reader wonder, even if he found out if he found out that Ka’s father killed his family, would he enact revenge?  And this whole idea of the victim and victimizer is also illustrated very clearly through his relationship with Claude. Claude, who is a murder, is put on the same level with Dany, who is a victim, when Dany says that they are both “night talkers.” Although there situations are different (and Claude may serve as some kind of foil to Dany) both teeter the line of one on hand being a victim and on the other be (or with Dany desiring to be) a victimizer.


Q: What does Danticat want message is Danticat trying to get across by smearing this line?


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