Breath, Eyes, Memory

Describe symbolism in Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

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Several symbols recur throughout the book. Daffodils, which are not native to Haiti, are Martine's favorite flower, because they grow in a place they are not supposed to; after Europeans brought the flowers to Haiti, a vigorous kind of daffodil developed that could withstand the tropical heat. To Sophie and her mother Martine, they are a symbol of resilience and survival, qualities the women need to withstand the sexual and emotional torment they have gone through. Danticat writes a Mother's Day poem for her Tante Atie, comparing her to a daffodil, "limber and strong," and as a child is upset when Atie insists that she give the poem to her real mother, whom she has not seen since she was a baby. By the end of the book, however, she realizes that the poem applies to her mother, too.