The fiction story is “Ghosts” is set up in one of the poorest parts of Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world, listed number 136 by the World Bank. Ghosts gives us an overview of how life in this country looks like and the hope that young people in this country from the worst places in Haiti. The main character in the story is Pascal, whose background seems better compared to that of most children portrayed in the story.
Young Pascal’s parents owned a shop in Bel Air. They are luck to own a slightly bigger yard compared to that of their congested neighbors. They sold fried plantains and some rice and beans. However, the nature of their yard is described as messy with rusty metal and dangling bulbs. Edwidge uses the Yards and the gangs to describe the state of poverty in Haiti. Pascal comes from a neighborhood that is controlled by gangs. However, his parents try to give the best protection from young gang men, poverty and drug abuse. Pascal is seen growing with a lot of pain and fear. As much as his family is trying to overcome the fear of early death from attacks by gangs, crime in his town is past his control.
In the story, one can easily see the pain of young Pascal trying his best to live a crime and drug free life, but the environment is not supportive. He goes through a difficult time leaving home in the morning without an idea of his fate throughout the day. He is not sure whether he will come back home safely or not. He is neither comfortable when night falls since he has to spend sleepless nights fearing for his life because someone might break into their house. Pascal wishes he could other young men quite drugs and crime life. Unfortunately, the corrupt state of the government of Haiti does not support what he does. He also faces opposition from rich influential rich people in his country.
The story Ghost shows us the face of the corrupt state of Haiti. Corruption is the main reason why people of Haiti are leaving in poverty. There is also the aspect of backwardness and ignorance that is denying young men in Haiti to think of better things apart from being exploited by the rich. Ignorance and lack of education contribute to mental well-being in young people, something that the people of Haiti lack making them engage in crime and drug abuse. The mental state of young men like Pascal from Haiti is evident from the first line in the story that states, “Hundreds of middle-school children entering a national art contest drew M-16s and beheaded corpses” (pg. 1). From the story, most children from Haiti were interested more in guns compared to books. This is how they have been raised to believe that crime and murder is the only way out.
Another issues in the story is about the justice system of Haiti. Pascal and his family endure hard times in a corrupt society. Apart from that, he gets arrested unfairly and accuses of something he didn’t do. Pascal undergoes torture in the hands of officers on questioning. “He is later dumped in front of his parents’ restaurant at ten that night” after the officers realized they “made a mistake.” From Pascal’s treatment it is significant that the justice system of Haiti is unfair and oppresses the poor.
The story “Ghosts” show how unfair the world can be. People in Haiti live in poverty and crime because of the corrupt state of the country. It is even surprising that the author uses ghosts to mean “in his dreams” since he was poor (pg. 9). Significantly, a state can either make its people or destroy them.
Danticat, E. Ghosts. The New Yorker, November 16, 2008