The Dew Breaker – Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Edwidge Danticat

The Dew Breaker

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The Dew Breaker – Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 5: “Night Talkers”

This chapter features Dany, whom readers should recall from Chapter 2 as one of Eric’s roommates. The chapter is set in Haiti, to which Dany has returned without alerting any of the people he plans to visit. We encounter him hiking along a mountain, on his way to find his father’s sister, Estina, who is now quite old. Dany has not seen her since leaving Haiti for New York ten years ago.

Dany, who has never made this journey without his mother, gets lost on the mountain, but he persists and eventually encounters a remote village. He speaks Creole to the inhabitants when he arrives. An old man (Old Zo is his name, we later learn) in the village informs him that he knows Dany’s aunt (as no one in these mountains is a stranger) and takes him to her village. The old man mentions that he knows Dany’s story: Dany survived a fire that killed his father and mother, in which Estina nearly perished as well.

Estina’s home is a single-room dwelling bordered by banana grove and next door to a family mausoleum. She is not home, but Dany encounters many old acquaintances while he waits for her. He is slightly disconcerted that many of these old acquaintances still remember idle promises he made when he left, to send them gifts and money from America. When Estina finally arrives she is guided by two helpers due the fact that she is blind, having lost her sight in the fire. Estina also has scars on her hands. She is happy to have Dany there, but also curious as to his reason for coming.

Estina informs Dany that she is still working alongside midwifes in the nearby villages. At night, most of the village visits Dany. He sleeps on a pad near Estina in the single room, where she sleeps on a cot. In keeping with the title of the story, during the night Estina sits upright and speaks in her sleep. Dany finds that interesting because he has the same habit (those who do so are called “palannits” in…

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