Breath, Eyes Memory Character Analysis

Sophie

We first meet Sophie at age 12 living with her aunt Tantie Atie as her mother lives abroad (New York). Soon after she travels to New York to live with her mother and here we see role reversal where Sophie has to take care of her sick mother.

We see her stages of development from a 12 years old to an adult Sophie.

Tantie Atie

Tantie Atie is Sophie’s second Mom and has done a great job of caring for her until age 12 when she travels to live with her Mom.

She is a story teller and Sophie enjoys listening to them. It is important to note that Tantie Atie can not read and refuses to learn as she thinks her time has passed for learning.

Tantie too goes through a series of development as upon Sophie’s return as an adult to Haiti, she has learn to read. However, her definition of the role of a woman (husband and childbearing) being unfulfilled has left her bitter and angry.

Martine

Can be described as a tormented soul who is deeply disturbed by nightmares.

She loves her daughter fiercely but still harbours fear and hate for the unknown part of her which always brings her back to the most violent and humiliating day of her life.

Martine, a deeply disturbed character or Sophie, presents the most challenges.

Grandma Ifé

Can be described as a wise story teller, matriarch of the Caco family, strong and loving figure.

On the other hand, she carries out the violent and humiliating tradition of ‘testing’ her daughters to ensure their hymen was intact.

She is the character who helps Sophie finds the healing and freedom she needs from the past in order to move forward.

Joseph

He is Sophie’s husband and is the strong but silent type, incredibly patient and a bedrock for Sophie.

Marc Chevalier

Martine’s boyfriend who is characterised as “old-fashioned” in nature and is unwilling to give up the customs of everyday life in Haiti.

He is representative of Martine’s inability to move on from the past in Haiti and while Sophie blames him for her mother’s ultimate demise, he dutifully takes care of her final ceremony and is admired by Sophie for this action.

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