Literature Study GuidesKrik KrakSeeing Things Simply Summary

Krik? Krak! | Study Guide

Edwidge Danticat

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Krik? Krak! | Seeing Things Simply | Summary

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Summary

Princesse is a teenage girl who poses nude for the artist Catherine who is visiting from Guadeloupe. Princesse walks through her town and notices people's excited and raucous behavior while they violently cheer on a cock fight. A cock fight is a violent competition between two roosters who are bred to be aggressive. The birds fight to the death while onlookers cheer on the violence. The townspeople watching the fight erupt with comments like "Take its head off! Go for its throat!" Each time Princesse arrives at the house where Catherine is staying in order to act as an artist's model she feels more and more that it is an oasis where she can relax. Catherine builds Princesse's confidence by focusing on the human expressiveness of each part of her body and face. For a long time Catherine does not give any of the paintings to Princesse. Catherine assures Princesse that her work will be kept confidential so that "no one who lives in the village will ever see these paintings." She assures Princesse that the paintings will be seen in galleries in France. One day Catherine presents Princesse with a realistic portrait of her. Princesse is inspired to create art herself after this encounter. She begins by painting the men cheering for the cock fight that opens the story.

Analysis

Both "Seeing Things Simply" and "The Missing Peace" involve young women who are inspired by independent women from cultures other than their own. They see them as role models. In "Seeing Things Simply" the foreign artist Catherine inspires Princesse to embrace her body in all its uniqueness and beauty. Princesse reflects on what she has learned from posing for Catherine and realizes that she too wants to portray life through art. Princesse thinks more deeply about life and nature after her encounter with Catherine. She reflects on the fact that nature will continue after she dies but her unique perspectives on her experiences can remain if she expresses them through art. She decides to paint the people around her doing everyday things so that she can leave a lasting mark on the world. Princesse's choice of artistic subject is significant. She decides to paint the aggressive crowd excitedly cheering on the violent cock fight in the beginning of the story. Her decision demonstrates a dedication to painting or otherwise artistically portraying the world in a way that is true to life. Princesse is fascinated by the people and scenes around her and hopes to portray them to the entire world in the way that Catherine had earlier described.

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