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Grace is the backbone of her family. Both her mother and her sister,
Caroline, depend on and confide in her, and she negotiates between the
traditional Haitian values of her mother and Caroline’s American independence.
Grace wants to take care of her family and make them proud. She sees the best in
people and trusts them to make their own decisions, so she’s supportive of both
Caroline’s engagement and her mother’s inability to break her ties to Haiti. Yet
Grace’s competent negotiations reveal her own personal difficulty: she feels
neither completely Haitian nor completely American. She still feels a strong
connection to Haiti, but she feels guilty for being the reason her parents had
to leave. She feels oppressed by the culture she has inherited, which makes her
rebel against her mother’s superstition. Grace is still searching for her place
in the world. Although she doesn’t realize it, she’s jealous of Caroline for
making a new place for herself in her own family. Grace feels betrayed when
Caroline leaves home for good. She is terrified of change and loss and doesn’t
want to forget her past. Eventually, her new passport gives her a sense of
belonging. As a true American, she feels secure enough to embrace the Haitian
traditions she once resisted by helping her mother make bone soup.