Ten Most Powerful Quotes from the Novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory

Aslam Kakar

Breath, Eyes, Memory, a Novel by Edwidge Danticat
Breath, Eyes, Memory, a Novel by Edwidge Danticat

‘Women are as brave as stars out at dawn’, writes Edwidge Danticat in her novel Breath, Eyes, Memory. Danticat is a Haitian-American novelist, and dedicates her masterpiece to the humiliated and most impoverished, yet brave women of her country of origin, Haiti.

Women are treated as the most vulnerable and the least fortunate of humankind, almost in all societies. But, in some cultures, particularly in the developing world, they experience terrible afflictions. Rape, physical humiliation, and suppression are among the most notable.

Breath, Eyes, Memory is one such story of the sufferings of Haitian women, who seem to share the worst of women’s fate. Sophie Caco, the protagonist, leaves Haiti at the age of twelve to meet her mother in New York only to find a world that children must never know. Sophie hardly recovers from her virginity tests by her mother, who herself had gone though them in her youth days.

These rock-solid cultural dogmas and traditions are practiced at the cost of unimaginable women’s suffering in the poor, small South American island country.

There is so much to learn from the novel, as it is also the story of the wisdom of an entire people. While reading the book, I noted some interesting and powerful quotes, which transcend the time and space in which the story actually originates. The quotes below make so much sense, and will for ever, even to those who have not heard of Haiti, let alone its culture and people.



  1. Women are as brave as stars out at dawn.

  2. There is a great responsibility that comes with knowledge.

  3. Love is like rain. It comes in a drizzle sometimes. Then it stars pouring and if you are not careful it will drown you.

  4. Spilled water is better than a broken jar.

  5. Time is god’s to waste, not ours.

  6. You can not always carry the pain. You must liberate yourself.

  7. It is the calm and silent waters that drown you.

  8. Because of our distress we are able to understand when others are in deep pain.

  9. We all hate people at one time or another. If we can hate ourselves, why can not we hate other people?

  10. When you let your salt in the sun you are always looking for rain.