Common Borders, Separate Traumas, and the Rethinking of Colle ...

Work thumb

Views: 84

All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2023, Common Ground Research Networks, All Rights Reserved


The Farming of Bones is a fictional account of the 1937 Haitian Massacre by Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo Molinas on the island of Hispaniola that focuses on the traumatic history across the borderline of Haiti and Dominican Republic. My aim is to show how survival stories can rewrite the history of the borderline by means of creating new forms of co-existence and being-together as non-totalizable beings. To this end, I first turn to a discussion of how the disfigured bodies of the survivors undo homogeneous group representations. I then examine how the remembering and retelling of survivor stories engenders a transformation of all intimate relationships, namely with self, other, and “home.” My point is to prove that Danticat’s disfigured victims produce a discourse for redefining the self and allow for different forms of conviviality to emerge beyond the necessity of looking, feeling, or experiencing the same. For theoretical support, I turn mainly to Julia Kristeva’s concept of “intimate revolt,” as well as Frances Restuccia’s work on the “unsharability” of pain. Overall, this article undermines the presupposed existence of intimacy and togetherness in the victims’ lives and emphasizes the proliferation of individual stories of pain that rewrite the entire history of the borderline and its communities through the prism of precariousness and contingency.