Eating Bodies: Edwidge Danticat’s The Farming of Bones

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This essay exposes the imagery of cannibalism as a critique of unfettered consumption and greed at the root of the exploitative structures in The Farming of Bones (1998). The essay contends that the symbolic tapestry of Edwidge Danticat’s second novel is woven around metaphors of consumption and excretion. In a bid to unpack the inner workings of a plantation system that reduced human beings to commodities, I tease out the novel’s layered reflection on these metaphors and their meaning. I demonstrate that the purported menace posed by Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic is but a deflection of the violence exerted on working bodies on a constant basis. A scheme that serves to mask the assault and plunder that are commonplace, the ascription of malevolent intent onto the immigrants strips them of their humanity and justifies their expulsion from the national territory. I further expose the strategies used by the exploited to counter the consuming carnage and restore dignity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-159
Number of pages19
JournalResearch in African Literatures
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023

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