Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Amanda Sladek

Committee Members

Annarose Steinke, Janet Graham, Sharon Obasi


composition;Edwidge Danticat;invention;lament;Psalmic Aesthetic;writing classroom


This thesis examines the implications of the genre of lament for the writing classroom. The thesis will address how Edwidge Danticat, a Haitian author, expresses joy and sorrow in her writing and how she can serve as a model text for students as they write. The thesis will also consider what Danticat's use of language means for the writing classroom, language policies, and the CCCC's "Student's Right To their Own Language" position statement. As Danticat explores the individual and communal juxtaposition of tragedy and celebration, her writing echoes the varied tenor and emotions of the Psalms. The Psalmic style is less tidy and linear than popular interpretation, and Danticat explores the non-linear tensions between lament and joy. Haunting tales of national and personal life and death, separation and reunion are structurally played across her works. The heartrending sequence of life and death is eloquently explored through personal stories set against larger tales of Haitian immigration. Just as the Psalmist employs the vav adversative, or turning movements of joy and lament, Danticat likewise expresses her fluid engagement with the range of human experience (Card 75, 70). Danticat’s Psalmic aesthetic and her “fully awake and alive” wrestling with grief and celebration helps readers reconsider personal and national tragedy and triumph in their own writing.



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