Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Language, Literature and Writing

First Advisor

Dr. Kerry Hasler-Brooks


In The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat and The Color Purple by Alice Walker characters experience and manifest power through the production of narrative, naming and labeling, and bodily interactions. Abusers such as the Dew Breaker, Duvalier, and Alphonso understand power as hierarchical, gained at the expense of others. These men commit acts of physical violence, spin scapegoat narratives which justify torture and rape, and attempt to name reality and define morality for their victims; in short, they pursue the power of a god to assert hegemony and control others. Scholars such as Bellamy suggest that the Dew Breaker is a changed man after giving up occupational torture and starting a family in America. However, close examination of his interactions with Anne and Ka demonstrates that he continues to exert control over others through acts of physical violence and the narcissistic, possessive act of naming his daughter as an extension of himself. Mr. Bienamé is no longer a Tonton Macoute, but exhibits the same need for control and self-deifying narrative which undergirded his career as a torturer. Danticat and Walker address unrepentant abusers like the Dew Breaker not through communal action which brings perpetrators to justice, but by focusing on the stories and growth of victims.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License