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Assignment on Secrets We Kept by Krystal

Analyze the construction and trajectory of a character's identity in the memoir Secrets We Kept.

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Added on  2022-08-24

Assignment on Secrets We Kept by Krystal

Analyze the construction and trajectory of a character's identity in the memoir Secrets We Kept.

   Added on 2022-08-24

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Memoirs of A Part Storyteller, Part Daughter and Part Granddaughter
“Secrets We Kept “by Krystal A Sital is an engrossing and vivid tale that the author
recreates from the memories of her mother and grandmother. The paper makes an attempt to
construct the character of Kristal from the book of Secrets We Kept and follows her trajectory of
transformation over the course of the book. Despite the horrors and tragedies faced by the
women in her life, Kristal still cannot break the bond with her father and grandfather but, at the
same time, feels the need to acknowledge these women and their stories of sufferings.
The true story is based on the personal experiences of three generations and reflects the
horrors and tragedies faced by the women at the hands of their husbands. The gentle interviews
of Krystal with her mother and grandmother dig into the sufferings faced by three generations of
women within the brutal patriarchal confines of her family history. These conversations take
place when the women get together for cooking and other chores and give substance and thought
to the author to write down the story.
Krystal begins her memoir with fond memories of Trinidad, its natural wonders, and the
great life they had there. It is apparent that she never thought they would have to leave the island
and settle in America. The life in their third-floor apartment in New Jersey is a far cry from what
they had in Trinidad. Her early memories of Trinidad during her childhood are pleasant and
Assignment on Secrets We Kept by Krystal_1
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warm. She grew up idolizing her grandfather and loving her father and never thought they could
terrorize the women in the household.
When Krystal’s grandfather is in hospital, suffering from a life-threatening condition, his
condition only grows more critical. What confuses Krystal are the conflicting attitudes she sees
in her grandmother and her mother towards her grandfather. While her mother seems devoted to
him and sits by his side day and night but her grandmother wants her grandfather to be dead.
When she asks her mother about her grandmother’s attitude towards her husband, her mother
replies that with her husband in the hospital, her grandmother feels safe. She is haunted by a
beating and tortures that took place about thirty-six years ago (Sital 25). That is the first incident
that shows Krystal that there is another side to the life she sees around her. While she looks at
her mother and grandmother to be strong women who can make decisions, they feel helpless
within the brutal patriarchal confines of their family.
She remembers her grandfather to be a doting one as he rustled her hair and kissed her on
the head (Sital 12). She has fond memories of her father and is sure that he loves the family and
her mother too. However, as she learns about the men in her life, she not only sees them as father
and grandfather whom she admired but also as husbands and perpetrators (232) She learns about
the violence and horrors in the life of her mother and grandmother when they were young. When
her grandmother was young, her husband made her work on the farm, even when she was
pregnant. His blows were only more brutal, and he was even unfaithful to her. The author also
mentions about his bastard son Avinash (Sital 303).
When Krystal sees her mother ripping off a picture of her parents form their wedding
creepy and burn it, she is not able to realize fully as to what is going on. Krystal rushes forward
to save the picture as those are precious memories from the past. She doesn’t want to get
Assignment on Secrets We Kept by Krystal_2
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destroyed (Sital 322). Her parent's wedding album was precious to her. Krystal is sure that her
father loves her mother but is not sure as to why he cheated on her. And just like other men, he
left no room or space for any questioning and always resisted being questioned (Sital 323).
When Krystal knows about the possible divorce between her parents, she doesn’t like it
as she thinks it was for the people of America and not for someone from Trinidad. She wanted
her parents to stay together and wondered as to when would the men on their island change.
Krystal learns that her parents stayed together in the marriage, not because of any love or care
between them. It was because the women on the eland did everything possible to save their
marriage and didn’t want to be branded as divorced. Moreover, it would have been difficult to
place any charges against her father, who was a high-ranking police officer (Sital 337).
Krystal learns that although her mother wanted her life to be different from her
grandmother’s, she seems to replicate it closely. For her, her family became her priority, and
even if she had wanted a career, she had no choice but to stay at home. The mantra of no job, no
love, being pregnant, and working day and night seems to have echoed from one generation to
another (Sital 318). Krystal looks at her mother to be a strong woman who uprooted her children
not just for her selfish reason but also because Trinidad was becoming unstable in the economy
and the crime rate was growing (Sital 337) Perhaps the shift to America also help her to distance
herself from her husband and teach him a lesson for cheating on her.
Later in the novel, Krystal learns that her grandmother, her mother, and herself become
much stronger as they try to make sense of their lives and heal together. Sill, Krystal feels the
need to connect with her father, despite the loneliness and despair. She wants to still remain
together as a family. At the same time, she feels her bond with her mother has deepened and
become stronger. After hearing the stories from her mother and grandmother, her emotions
Assignment on Secrets We Kept by Krystal_3

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