The Dew Breaker – Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Edwidge Danticat

The Dew Breaker

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The Dew Breaker – Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 7: “Monkey Tails (February 7, 1986/ February 7, 2004)”

As the title indicates, this chapter takes us from the end of the Duvalier regime to the present (at least the present of the novel’s writing). It is narrated in the third person, past tense, as a sort of memoir. The main character and his mother are hiding under a cot in their house at the start of the story. Jean-Claude (“Baby Doc”) Duvalier and his retinue have left the country with American help very recently, and the country is in turmoil. At a more personal level, the narrator knows that a crowd rampaging nearby is searching for a man named Regulus, the father of the narrator’s best friend, Romain. As a low-level thug of the Duvalier regime, Regulus has enjoyed dominating his neighbors but must now flee for his life.

Along with his mother, the narrator lives in close company with a servant girl, Rosie, and his cousin, Vaval. By the density of the population, we can tell that this story takes place in Port-au-Prince. The most important citizen in the narrator’s neighborhood is Monsieur Christophe; Christophe owns a water pumping station and, therefore, is able to profit from supplying people with public water. Rioters have opened all of the station’s valves, and the narrator enjoys thinking about Christophe’s resulting losses.

Christophe emerges and enlists the narrator to help shut off the main valve. The narrator feels compelled to help, especially due to the urging of his mother (an entrepreneurial single mother who sells various items on the street), who often receives cheaper water from Christophe than their neighbors. But the narrator, wanting to find his friend Romain, makes his escape during the effort to shut the valve.

The narrator finds Romain and at this point takes an intermission in the story. He explains that he is writing this in 2004 in bed next to his wife, that his name is Michel, and that his intention is to record his experience for his unborn son.

Romain is a sort of self-educated young intellectual, quoting Voltaire and Socrates. He does not believe that things…

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