Abstract

This article studies the possibility of perpetrator trauma in Edwidge Danticat's The Dew Breaker. The article gives a brief historical background of the political violence in Haiti that occurred under the Duvalier dictatorship and focuses specifically on the role of Tonton Macoutes, the violent enforcers of much of Duvalier's oppression. Drawing on trauma theory, the article argues that perpetrators have been very little studied within trauma studies because of the possible moral implications of giving research time to individuals who have often chosen their own path of violence. Along with theorists such as Kali Tal and Dominick LaCapra, this article investigates the difficult position of perpetrators who are also victims or those who have been traumatized in the act of violence. The paper finally argues that perpetrators may benefit from the opportunity to work through their trauma in the same way that victims work through trauma as a means of healing. In making this argument, this article shows the need for trauma theorists to study perpetrators in addition to current studies on victims and also shows an in depth study of the main character and primary perpetrator in The Dew Breaker.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Humanities; English

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2014-06-05

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd6981

Keywords

trauma, Caribbean literature, perpetrator, The Dew Breaker, Edwidge Danticat

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