The Dew Breaker Ch. 1-3

Chapter one starts off at a hotel, where a woman named Ka is staying with her father, although her father has disappeared. The reason they are staying at the hotel is because Ka made a wooden sculpture of her father, which she intends to sell to someone in Tampa. Another problem with her father missing, is that he took the sculpture with him as well. When her father returned, the sculpture was not with him. He took her to a lake, where the sculpture lied at the very bottom. This angered Ka, while her father felt that the sculpture was almost disturbing and that he was not deserving of it at all. That is when he reveals a secret to his daughter about the scar on his face.””Ka, I was never in prison,” he says. “Okay,” I say, sounding like I am fourteen again, chanting from what my mother used to call the meaningless adolescent chorus, just to sound like everyone else my age. “I was working in the prison,” my father says. And I decide not to interrupt him again until he’s done. Stranded in the middle of his speech now, he has to go on. “It was one of the prisoners inside the prison who cut my face in this way,” he says. My father now points to the long, pitted scar on his right cheek. I am so used to his hands covering it up that this new purposeful motion toward it seems dramatic and extreme, almost like raising a veil. “This man who cut my face,” he continued, “I shot and killed him, like I killed many people” (Danticat 21-22). This was all major news to Ka. She was almost speechless and kept asking herself questions about her family in her mind. She looked at her father a whole new way after that.

Question 1: Why did it take her father so long to tell her the truth? Was he planning on keeping it a secret forever, or did the sculpture open his eyes to do the right thing and tell his daughter the truth?

In chapter two we are introduced to a man who lives in a basement, works two jobs and is going to see his wife for the first time in seven years. The number seven plays a significant role to open this chapter. “Next month would make it seven years since he’d last seen his wife. Seven–a number he despised but had discovered was a useful marker. There were seven days between paychecks, seven hours, not including lunch, spent each day at his day job, seven at his night job. Seven was the last number in his age–thirty-seven. And now there were seven hours left before his wife was due to arrive” (Danticat 35). Once she arrives, it takes her a while to get use to living in a new country, as well as being back with her husband after being apart for so long.

In chapter three, we are introduced to a woman named Nadine, who is a nurse at a hospital. We learn that she has family in Hati. Her parents sold almost everything they owned, to send her to nursing school. Her father was very sick and she sends them money every month. Her mother writes to her, but she barely ever calls them. She just reads over the letters, as if there are any signs of sympathy or condolences. We also learn that she has a former lover named Eric, who also tries to contact her as well. Eric was the near father of her nearly born child, which seems to be a major reason as to why she is so insecure and keeps to herself.

Question 2: Why do you think Nadine avoids keeping in contact with her parents? They gave up almost everything for her to become a nurse.

Question 3: After reading these three chapters, what can relate and tie together from what we have read so far?

 

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Teaching the Background of Middle East Culture to Adolescents?

Last week in my Literature for Adolescents class (EDU T&L 3356), we read a novel titled Wanting Mor by Rukhsana Khan. It was a well written story about a young woman who grew up in a very poor area in Afghanistan, that was majorly effected by by the war. She deals with many tough obstacles in her lifetime such being born with a cleft lip, her mother passing away, moving to Kabul and getting abandoned by her father, and having to spend a portion of her life in an orphanage that was ran by people who killed members of her family. This story is a perfect example of life going on in the Middle East.

In our class discussion, the question arose “if this novel should be given out to read in a high school English class?” My first reaction was YES. I thought that this novel, along with everything that we have read in our World Lit class, shows great examples of the lifestyle in the Middle East. Then I backtracked and thought to myself how much knowledge I lacked about the Middle East before enrolling in this class and having discussions. Which is why I came to the conclusion, if someone was going to assign this novel for their high school class to read, then they better be sure their students have some kind of understanding on the culture and background of the Middle East. But that may be difficult to do in a short period of time, oppose to an entire semester on becoming familiar with it.

~Nate