Study Guide

Breath, Eyes, Memory Book 1, Chapter 8

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Book 1, Chapter 8

  • Since it's summer, Sophie has to go to work with her mother, who's a nurse. She takes care of elderly people.
  • Sophie feels bad for her mother, who can't sleep and works so hard. Martine tells her that she won't have to work so hard if she gets a good education.
  • Martine asks Sophie if she's anything like the mother she had in her mind. Sophie recalls (to herself) that she thought of her mother as the goddess Erzulie, perfectly beautiful and always there for her.
  • She tells Martine that she "couldn't ask for better." She also says that she thinks Marc is smart.
  • Martine reveals that Marc helped her to bring Sophie from Haiti. She shares the story of how she met Marc.
  • Sophie wonders if Marc and Martine will marry, but Martine says she isn't even thinking about it. She says that Sophie needs to keep her mind off boys and work hard at school.
  • Then she tells Sophie about the "virginity tests" her mother used to do on her and Atie back in Haiti. Atie could never stand them and would scream.
  • And then, the bombshell: Martine tells Sophie how she came into the world. She tells Sophie, in basic terms, that she was raped by a stranger in a sugar cane field.
  • After that, her mother stopped the virginity tests, for obvious reasons.
  • She remarks that although she never saw the man's face, she assumes that Sophie must look like him (since she doesn't look like Martine).

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