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Breath, Eyes, Memory

Edwidge Danticat

Section One: Chapters 4–6

Section One: Chapters 1–3

Section One: Chapters 4–6, page 2

page 1 of 3

Chapter 4

During her final week in Haiti, Sophie goes to school and sweeps the yard as usual. Meanwhile Atie is gone long hours, working overtime for extra money to buy gifts. On Friday afternoon after school, as Atie makes tea, Sophie sees a love-note from Monsieur Augustin stuck to the kettle before Atie can snatch it away. Atie presents Sophie with her dearly bought present, a saffron dress embroidered with daffodils to wear on the trip. That night, Sophie's recurrent dream of being chased by her mother gives way to a dream in which Martine has finally caught her, and Atie cannot save her.

The next morning, as Atie and Sophie get dressed and try to stay strong, Chabin, the albino lottery agent, stops by to pay Atie the ten gourdes she has won by playing the number thirty-one. The taxi arrives before Atie and Sophie have finished breakfast. After saying her goodbyes to the neighbors, Sophie gets into the taxi with Atie and leaves her house, her village, and the undone dishes in a cloud of red dust.

Chapter 5

As the taxi speeds into Port-au-Prince, Sophie is awed by the commotion of the city, while Atie remembers trips taken to the city with Martine as a teenager. The airport is in particular chaos, as this is the day of its name change from Francois Duvalier to Mais Gaté. From atop a nearby hill, students throw stones at a burning car surrounded by army trucks, and the soldiers retaliate with tear gas and bullets. The taxi somehow arrives at the airport gate, and Atie shoves Sophie hurriedly inside.

As Sophie and Atie wait in the New York boarding line, a breathless woman arrives in a navy uniform. She has spoken to Martine and will take care of Sophie. Sophie and Atie say hurried goodbyes and the woman rushes Sophie to the plane.

On the plane, Sophie sits beside a small boy who is throwing a fit. The boy's father, a corrupt government official, had just died in the fire outside the airport, and the boy is being sent to New York to his only remaining relative, an aunt. Eventually the boy calms down and goes to sleep, and Sophie does as well.

Chapter 6

Arriving in New York, Sophie and the little boy are escorted off the plane and through baggage claim by the stewardess. When they come out into the lobby, Sophie's mother Martine immediately comes forward and begins to spin her like a top, looking at her.

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