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Literature Study GuidesThe Farming Of Bones

The Farming of Bones | Study Guide

Edwidge Danticat

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Course Hero. "The Farming of Bones Study Guide." Course Hero. 14 Dec. 2020. Web. 27 Jan. 2023. <>.

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Course Hero. (2020, December 14). The Farming of Bones Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from

In text

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Course Hero. "The Farming of Bones Study Guide." December 14, 2020. Accessed January 27, 2023.


Course Hero, "The Farming of Bones Study Guide," December 14, 2020, accessed January 27, 2023,



Edwidge Danticat

Year Published





Historical Fiction

Perspective and Narrator

The Farming of Bones is told by a first-person narrator who is the story's protagonist or main character Amabelle Désir. Amabelle describes events from her own perspective and at times utilizes short flashback narratives to describe events from her past and reveal her hopes and dreams for the future.


Most of the action and dialogue presented in The Farming of Bones is in the past tense. The first-person narrator Amabelle Désir often uses the present tense in the short chapters in which she describes her dreams and innermost thoughts.

About the Title

The Farming of Bones refers to sugarcane farming which was a principal agricultural activity of the Dominican Republic during the 1930s when the novel is set. The novel's main character Amabelle Désir refers to the practice of sugarcane farming as "travay te pou zo, the farming of bones" because of the way its physical demands cause injury to workers.

The novel traces the experiences of a Haitian immigrant to the Dominican Republic. The character is named Amabelle, and she comes to live with a wealthy Dominican family. Along with thousands of other Haitian immigrants, Amabelle and her lover Sebastien come under attack by soldiers upon orders of Dominican President Rafael Trujillo (1891–1961) and attempt to flee back to Haiti.


This study guide for Edwidge Danticat's The Farming of Bones offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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