Haitians and the Struggle for Hispaniola Essay

Published: 2020-03-20 22:01:16
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A richly textured social history of Hispaniola¦ the cock flight is designed to pit equal combatants against each other, and among humans equality is in short supply on Hispaniola. Perhaps this explains why the victorious cock brings glory to his owner yet the victors in the human competition have hardly been inspiring. Kirkus Reviews (January, 1999) There are lots of situations in history when people of power try to use others to fight for the interests which they represent and use them as marionettes or as fighting cocks.

We often become witnesses of historical events in which politicians were using ordinary people to fight for their ideals. The idea of the fighting cock is clear to everybody- in a general sense its a bird which fights in the arena for the amusement of its owner and as long as the cock wins, it remains alive. Whenever it loses, it gets cooked for the next dinner. Of course, the idea of the fighting cocks in the novel has an allegoric sense but it is hard to imagine any other word which would describe the events going on in the history depicted in the novel with a different term.

In order to give a full review of the novel, we are going at first to focus on the main points which it covers, i. e. on the historical period which is depicted in the novel. The main goal of our research is to show how events were going in the period of history which we are analyzing, what contribution Michele Wucker has made to the analysis of the events and what made her work outstanding. We are also going to investigate who were the allegoric fighting cocks in the novel and their owners and how they were trying to achieve their goals by using the fighting cocks.

In Michele Wuckers novel Why the Cocks Fight- Dominicans, Haitians, and the struggle for Hispaniola, a complex exploration of the cultural divide between Haiti and the Dominican Republic is given and the novel focuses on the 1937 massacre which is the central movement in Hispaniolas history. It appears impossible to understand the essence of the novel without knowing some information about the island Hispaniola which serves as the arena for the fighting cocks in the novel.

Investigations show that Hispaniola rises out of the Caribbean between Cuba and Puerto Rico and nowadays still remains a mystery to most North Americans. During the conquest, France and Spain tore the island apart and thus considered themselves a general owner of the island. In a while, the conquerors found themselves no match for the Africans they brought there to work and die in the sugarcane fields. The Spanish-speaking Dominican Republic has diverged considerably from its French-speaking island neighbor but the two nations share more than a porous common border.

In order to give a full idea of the differences between those nations, we can give the following information: while in the recent years the Dominican Republic has become a state which a GNP growing faster than GNP of any other Latin country, Haiti remains the poorest country in the Americas. Wuckers novel focuses on the often tortured relationship between Haitians and Dominicans. They are the cocks which were mentioned in the title of the novel.

Those cocks are fighting for territory and power in a cockpit of an island and the stakes are cultural and psychological, sometimes even matters of life and death, in a fight which has been going on for centuries and which brought lots of sorrows to the nations, like any fight. Even though the nations are sharing the same island, they have completely different cultures and thus share different ideals. One nation is French-speaking and black, another one is Spanish-speaking and mulatto.

Just as the owners of the fighting cocks contrive battles between the birds, the leaders of Dominican Republic and Haiti often stir up nationalist disputes and exaggerate their cultural difference as a way of deflecting other kinds of turmoil. Even though ordinary people would probably not want to participate in the struggles from their own will and desire, the leaders do their best to force their people to realize that they need to fight for right to rule.

The phenomena of Michele Wuckers book is that the author weavers together the histories and current plights of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It is not an easy task to depict both historical facts and also the realities of modern times but Michele Wucker has done a very successful job on that. The author unveils the seemingly chaotic yet ritualistic world of Dominicans and Haitians and in her novel moves back and forth from the time of Columbus to the 20th century and through the intervening years to emphasize recurring themes rather than a linear story.

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