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Occupation, as Léon-François Hoffmann notes in relation to Haitian writing. Nevertheless, Hoffmann points out, the embodiment of the national amalgam is the mulatto woman (“Image de la femme dans la poésie haïtienne” 192–96). In Cuba, the mulata likewise incarnates the emergence of a new Caribbean identity. Yet she is an ambivalent symbol that can equally signify frivolity, together with alienation and cultural assimilation, as noted in Guillén and Sánchez. The Puerto Rican and Dominican elites’ problematic perception of their ethnic and cultural identity usually led them to choose the white peasant woman to represent the nation.

Ay! Ay! de la Grifa negra,” for example, the mixed-raced woman no longer connotes sensuality but is invoked to recall a past of exploitation and slavery. In this respect, Burgos’s verse contrasts with that of her counterpart Luis Palés Matos, for instance “Mulata Antilla,” which reappraises 24 O A Poetics of Relation the African legacy of Puerto Rico but nonetheless perpetuates the trope of the over sexualized mulatto female. ” (El cuerpo correcto, 1998). Here the eponymous character is endowed with charms that prove to be so potent that they perdure long after her death.

Here again, the focus is on the women: Man Ifé, her daughters Atie and Martine, and Martine’s daughter Sophie. 25 In many ways Danticat echoes the Antiguan writer Jamaica Kincaid, who also denounces in her fiction the stifling upbringing of women. The traditional Haitian (and Relating the Female Experience O 31 by extension Caribbean) woman is confined to her household and left totally in charge of it, while the man has few responsibilities. Ironically, neither Atie nor her sister Martine ever marries, which stresses the absurdity of this rigorous training, designed to benefit men who ultimately fail to materialize.

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