The Dew Breaker – Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Edwidge Danticat

The Dew Breaker

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The Dew Breaker – Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 6: “The Bridal Seamstress”

After Chapter 5 brings all of the preceding chapters together, Chapter 6 works to slightly unravel this tight web of connections. This chapter’s story is about an interview between a young journalist and a retiring seamstress, named Beatrice. The newspaper is the Haitian American Weekly; the editor’s wedding dress was made by Beatrice, so she simply wants a small column regarding the seamstress’s retirement. In the back of her mind the journalist, Aline, is thinking about a recent breakup with an older girlfriend, a female professor.

Beatrice has made wedding dresses since she lived in Haiti and has always hand-sewn the dresses alone. She explains that all of the girls who come requesting dresses call her “Mother,” and accordingly she behaves imperiously toward Aline; for example, she replies to a question about whether she’s been married by saying that that question is an inappropriate one to ask someone her age.

The interview takes a bizarre turn when they go for a walk. Beatrice points out her various neighbors’ homes, including one that she says belongs to a prison guard from Haiti. When they get back to Beatrice’s house, she is clearly distracted. She explains that she plans to move again, then abruptly transitions into a story about the dew breakers. One of them, she says, asked her to dance at a party. She said no and, as revenge, he had her taken to the prison where her feet where whipped raw. Then she explains that wherever she moves, the man now follows her and moves in nearby.

Incredulous about the idea of the guard following her, Aline questions Beatrice’s account. Nevertheless she is intrigued and after the interview, she spends some time investigating the house of the accused dew breaker. After some poking around, she realizes that this home is uninhabited; its most recent occupant was a woman named Dolly. She confronts Beatrice with this information, but Beatrice simply replies that the guard lives in abandoned houses. She suspects that he follows her using the letters she sends to the owners of her dresses, informing them of her…

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