Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Committee Chair

Cheryl Duffus


This thesis is an examination gathering of trauma, unhomeliness, and the use of non-traditional narrative structure in Caribbean literature. While literature helps the reader travel inside the skin of the character, the mystery of another human being, Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea, Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies, and Edwidge Danticat’s The Dew Breaker, also help readers to explore the complicated process of identity formation in each work through the lenses of the imperialism, colonialism, racism and sexism that the protagonists experience. A non-traditional narrative structure enables this process of healing from trauma and allows for a new home to be created. Rather than accepting the stories of colonialism, they instead resist those narratives and create a narrative of their own to create their own story. For these reasons, Rhys, Alvarez, and Danticat need to work through their trauma by telling and retelling their stories in repetitive fragments as part of their healing. Wide Sargasso Sea deals with the madness that results from the long history of racism during and after slavery in the Caribbean; In the Time of the Butterflies challenges the oppression and mistreatment of women and men in the Dominican Republic, addressing the brutal murder of the Mirabal sisters and a different kind of trauma, the difficulty of feeling at home in the midst of suffering under the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo; and The Dew Breaker considers the possibility of healing and forgiveness after the violent dictatorships of François and Jean-Claude Duvalier in Haiti, even though the traumatic past cannot be forgotten.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.