Aug
27

Reading Highlight: Claire of the Sea Light and Links to Lawyers Without Borders Experience

As a supplement to my core three texts, I have been reading Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat. Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory is one of my central texts, so perusing her other work has allowed me to explore some of the central themes in her work. 

Much like Danticat’s other work, Claire of the Sea Light focuses on familial relationships. Young Claire has been raised by her father in Haiti after her mother died in childbirth. Claire’s father has struggled to provide a life for her , and thus decides to give her away to a local, wealthier woman, Gaëlle. On the evening Gaëlle is supposed to take Claire, Claire vanishes. The rest of the story explores the impact of this on others in their village, as well as other sub-story lines. 

While this novel does not involve immigration, the themes of separated families seem recurring in Danticat’s work. One could compare Novias’ desire to provide a better life for Claire to that of Sophie’s mother in Breath, Eyes, Memory, who leaves Sophie to be raised with her aunt in Haiti for the beginning of her life while she sends money from her job in the United States. 

Claire of the Sea Light also highlights the ability for economic instability and poverty to leave children vulnerable to exploitation. While Claire of the Sea Light does not touch on any themes related to child trafficking, Claire’s situation resembled many of the situations I researched at Lawyers Without Borders this summer. Many trafficked children come from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and may be unintentionally trafficked when their parents send them to live with others without knowing the true nature of their employment.

 

References

Danticat, Edwidge. 2013. Claire of the Sea Light. New York: Random House L.L.C.

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