Racial Feminism And The Handmaid 's Tale Essay

1081 Words May 8th, 2016 5 Pages
and though the practice is a large part of Haitian culture, Westerners often view it as unorthodox and sexually abusive. Danticat depicts “testing” in her novel as a means of discussing postcolonial feminist issues which are often misunderstood and rarely even discussed in mainstream feminist literature. Similar to the internalized misogyny depicted in The Handmaid’s Tale, women in Breath, Eyes, Memory facilitate their own oppression by “testing” their daughters as they were once “tested” by their mothers. At one point, Sophie, an adult at this point, asks her mother why she “tested” her when she was young. Her mother responds: "I did it…because my mother had done it to me. I have no greater excuse” (Danticat, 170). Her mother then equates being “tested” to her actual rape, as if the two were equally horrific experiences, as if being “tested” was equally as violating as being raped. She says, “I realize standing here that the two greatest pains of my life are very much related. The one good thing about my being raped was that it made the testing stop. The testing and the rape. I live both every day” (170).
Because of her childhood, Sophie grows up to be a woman much like her mother, confused and filled with anxiety, hating herself and her body. Her self-hatred is yet another postcolonial feminist issue as it stems at least partially from her belief that Americans view Haitian people negatively and from the fact that her features are very different from American…

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