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Literature Study GuidesKrik KrakBetween The Pool And The Gardenias Summary

Krik? Krak! | Study Guide

Edwidge Danticat

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Krik? Krak! | Between the Pool and the Gardenias | Summary



Marie is a maid who works on a wealthy plantation. She finds a dead baby on the street, names the baby Rose, and keeps the baby with her as she goes about her work. Marie tells Rose about her life, including stories about a miscarriage and a cheating spouse. She informs the baby that she once slept with the Dominican who works as a pool cleaner at the plantation. After a few days the rotten smells of the dead baby's body arouse suspicion. The Dominican calls the police and accuses Marie of killing the baby. Marie reflects that she, the Dominican, and Rose make "a pretty picture" as they stand "between the pool and the gardenias" and wait for the police to arrive.


Finding a dead baby is not an everyday occurrence but in the world of this story it seems to be one. Violence, death, and sadness feature strongly in this story as they do in others in Krik? Krak! Marie is a character who is desperate for attention and love. She showers the dead baby with affection and delights in its physical presence with her. Marie tells sad tales from her life to the baby, including experiencing a miscarriage and a partner who cheated on her. The Dominican who according to Marie has slept with her in the past treats Marie like she is less than nothing. She begs him not to call the police by saying "You know me ... we've been together." The Dominican disregards Marie's humanity and tells her "I don't know you from the fly on a pile of cow manure." He accuses Marie of cruelly murdering and eating children. Hatred and distrust characterize everything around Marie and she unfortunately tries to remedy this by bringing a dead baby around with her for several days. Her behavior is negatively affected by the many episodes of loss and hurt that she describes to the dead baby. The beautifully landscaped estate where Marie and the Dominican work is filled with suspicion and envy. The smell of the dead baby is a catalyst for Marie's eventual downfall. "Between the Pool and the Gardenias" portrays a pervasive atmosphere of death and decay.

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