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1. I also know there are timeless waters, endless seas, and lots of
people in this world whose names don’t matter to anyone but
The male narrator writes these words at the beginning of “Children of
the Sea,” soon after he sets out for the United States in a tiny boat. His
words emphasize how common and almost meaningless suffering is in Haiti.
Every Haitian, not just the ones on the male narrator’s boat, has a reason
to flee the country, whether for political, economic, or personal reasons.
Their stories are painful and touching, but so many stories exist that
listening to or caring about them all is impossible. Each person must focus
on his or her own difficult past and unsure future. The suffering they share
makes them anonymous. The entirety of the Haitian problem is so great that
no individual matters too much. The male narrator also understands that,
like the “timeless waters,” this suffering is nothing new. Haiti and many
other places have been consumed by suffering for centuries, and people in
these places will likely continue to suffer. This realization makes the male
narrator’s despair both inevitable and understandable. Danticat points out
that maintaining hope is almost impossible when everyone is so familiar with
pain and no relief is in sight. Somewhere between Haiti and the United
States, the male narrator sees that suffering is as great as the ocean, and
all he can do is navigate it in the foolish hope of one day reaching