ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Review: The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat

Updated on April 1, 2020

The Farming of Bones of Danticat is a story of Amabelle Desir’s, a Haitian housekeeper of a rich Dominican family, struggle against the ruthless racial inequity and discrimination of her time: the suppressing hand of the Dominican ruling community over poor Haitians. The story started out well where Amabelle and other Haitians, particularly the laborers and sugarcane cutters, worked without any tension towards the landowners of Alegria. Yet the point of conflict came when two significant episodes of the novel unfolded: the death of Joel, a cane cutter who was accidentally killed by Don Ignacio and Señor Pico, Amabelle’s Dominican superiors, and Generalissimo Trujillo’s plan of “cleaning the Dominican Republic”. As part of the plan, thousands of Haitians living and working in the Dominican region were killed by soldiers using bayonets and machetes. Amabelle, Yves and other Haitians who once lived in the other side of the border survived and successfully reached their true home. But the massacre left them scars of killing and remained haunting them about the cruelty of the Dominicans to Haitians.

The novel serves as an expose of a true historical tragedy in the island where Danticat was born. The story goes back to 1937 – the year when Generalissimo Rafael Trujillo Molina was at his peak as the Dominican Republic’s president and decreed slaughter of all Haitians in Dominican land, which itself is the climax of the novel. The Dominican army and high-class society in the novel took part in the killing of the Haitians, which in reality ranged from 15,000 to 20,000 Haitians. Using the word ‘parsley’/ ‘perejil’, Dominican soldiers were able to identify Haitians in the land and take them as victims for slaughter. Such part also is an allusion to a biblical story of Jephthah-Ephraim dispute which also used the same strategy (with the word ‘shibboleth’) as stated in Judges.

Generally, Danticat succeeded in presenting major historical controversies in the past of the Hispaniola Island through her novel and its fictional characters. It came out that Farming of the Bones is a recall of how the Dominicans held racist acts at that period and considered Haitians as their antithesis, inferior, and threat to their development.

Danticat, E. (1998). The farming of bones. New York: Penguin Books.

Guerin, W., et al (1966). A handbook of critical approaches to literature. USA: Harper & Row Publishers, Inc.

The Conflict Between Haiti and the Dominican Republic by Jalisco Lancer. Retrieved at

70 Years Ago in the Dominican Republic… Retrieved at


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)