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2. [P]eople are just too hopeful, and sometimes hope is the biggest
weapon of all to use against us. [P]eople will believe anything.
This statement, which the female narrator’s mother, Manman, makes when
she hears rumors that the old president might be returning to Port-au-Prince
in “Children of the Sea,” shows how desperate the Haitian people are for
something good to happen. Even a highly unlikely rumor has the power to
revitalize the hope of a community worn out by the horror of daily life. The
Haitians have been scared and angry for such a long time that they need
something to be happy about, so they cling to whatever they can. This is
true for many of the characters in Krik? Krak!, including
Guy in “A Wall of Fire Rising,” the narrator of “Night Women,” and even
Princesse, who dreams of becoming an artist in “Seeing Things Simply.” They
want to believe good exists in the world and that their lives will get
better, but their rare moments of optimism are constantly proven to be
ill-founded. Hope is all they have, but every disappointment suggests they
can’t keep even that.
This remark emphasizes the reality, and even the necessity, of Haitian
despair. Even hope is a bad thing in the Haitians’ world because it is more
likely to be a trap than a true sign of good things to come. In “Children of
the Sea,” the people who let hope get the best of them and believe the rumor
go to the airport to greet the returning president, where they are arrested
or killed by the macoutes. Only the realist, who accepts
the horrific state of Haiti, can survive. Haitians are better off embracing
their hopelessness because that way they won’t be disappointed or even
killed. Hope may be the best thing in a Haitian’s life, but despair—a total
abandonment of hope—is the only real option. Of course, despair is not much
better, as Celianne shows when she kills herself and the male narrator shows
when he gives in to death. The horrors of Haitian life lead only to death,
whether one embraces despair or foolishly clings to hope.