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6732: Re: 6592: On Franketienne's use of the term "Pelin Tet" (fwd)
>From a cultural perspective the word "Pelin" means nothing but a
regretful unexpected situation that one finds him/herself in while
having no other recourse but resignation and hope until fully consumed
by it. That's the meaning Ayitians attached to the word if they are not
referring most of the time to the common trap set for mice in the house.
The mouse trap is designed to catch the mouse's head once it goes there
in search for food.
Understanding "Pelin" as such, Franketienne's students were confused by
the title of the play which does not reflect the meaning they know of.
They asked him to explain why he gave this title to the play. To help
them understand the play and justify the title he went on with an
anecdote: Take two macaques out of their environment and place them in a
cage. To lure them in happily some tree branches are introduced allowing
them to perform their acrobatic plays, a way of life that would bring
them joy. Sooner or later one of them would realize and show to the
other one that they were duped and did not have the freedom and the joy
of life they would normally had they been in plain nature. Not having a
way out of the cage the estrange feeling they would have is the essence
of term "Pelin Tet".
Let's understand the play: we have two Ayitians living in a basement
apartment in New York, the country (because New York was understood as
the country and is still understood as such by some) of predilection of
most Ayitians wishing for a better life. One is uneducated, Pyram and
the other an educated one Polydor. Look at the contrast. That would
never happen in Ayiti to find these two kind of individuals sharing the
same roof on a daily basis. The expectation that both had before
entering the US is a great disappointment. Polydor, the intellectual
sees his life status totally reduced by living with an uneducated person
and by enduring that kind of life in a basement. Pyram, the uneducated
one, although he is able to earn his daily bread which he could not do
if he were in Ayiti, is still quite unhappy due to nostalgia and the
limit that he has education wise to pierce the fabric of the society.
Repetitively, the idea of going back home to Ayiti has been aired but to
never avail. This is their resignation to live a life in NY that both
despise. At the same time really going back home to Ayiti is not a wise
choice, because life is not better there neither. At least in NY there
is hope. Their resignation conjugated with hope is the trap that could
totally consume them as their current situation was not expected and is
To repeat, "Pelin Tet" as used by Franketienne is a state of mind of
individuals finding themselves in an unexpected undesirable situation.
Ayiti has lived, lives and will live