One plus one equals three: Marasa consciousness, the Lwa, and three stories

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African American Studies


This article expands on literary critic Vèvè A. Clark's discussion of the marasa concept as a mythical theory of textual relationships based on the Haitian Divine Twins by connecting the concept to its African origins, itself a marasa, and exploring it in relation to three short stories from Haiti Noir (2011), an anthology of noir literature edited by Edwidge Danticat. Even though the narratives are firmly focused on the New World experience, I contend that the marasa's origins guide and shape the stories and are explicitly manifest in at least one of them. Thus, the short stories "Which One?" by Évelyne Trouillot, "The Last Department" by Katia D. Ulysse, and "The Finger" by Gary Victor (in my own invocation of marasa twa) embody the marasa concept in the way that they explore its continued relevance in the Caribbean reality of contemporary large diasporas and international interventions, which is especially true of Haiti, that produce here/there, us/them, home/abroad dichotomies. Moreover, they illustrate the attendant third element/space/moment of resolution or completeness through creativity, the dosu/dosa, which is also integral to the marasa concept. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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