In my dissertation, I examine how marginality and identity differences are represented in five Francophone novels: La mère du printemps (1982) by Driss Chraïbi, Laventure ambiguë (1962) by Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Les soleils des indépendances (1970) by Ahmadou Kourouma, La répudiation (1969) by Rachid Boudjedra and L'homme rompu (1994) by Tahar Ben Jelloun. In these novels, the problematics of identity and marginalization are treated in ways that call for reformulation of the concept of culture as a homogenous entity. I analyze identity in these literary works by going beyond the homogenous cultural perspectives adopted by Claude Lévi-Strauss in Tristes tropiques (1955), Tzvetan Todorov in Nous et les autres (1989) et Jemie Chinweizu in Toward the Decolonization of African Literature (1983). Using the hypothesis that internal conflicts and dialectical interrelationships are necessary factors of cultural transformation, I show how marginality is produced in the precolonial, colonial and postcolonial spaces. The ability or inability to overcome constraints of cultural purity will constitute the basis of my socio-historical analysis and I situate each novel within the problematics of going beyond the borders of one's cultural space. It is this transgression of limits that Homi Bhabha in The Location of Culture (1994) considers as a cultural performance founded on mutual contestations and a constantly changing identity. By basing my arguments on this innovative but conflictual idea of culture, I show how cultural dynamism is revealed by the capacity of the marginalized to overcome otherness by a principle of openness. But while Bhabha's The Location of Culture shows the plurality of cultural spaces, this plurality is problematized all the more in the novels I analyze in this dissertation. In La mère du printemps, L'aventure ambiguë, Les soleils des indépendances, La répudiation, and L'homme rompu, my textual analysis reveal varying degrees of inability on the part of the major characters to accept the absence of cultural purity.
|School:||University of Cincinnati|
|Department:||Arts and Sciences : French|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||African literature, Culture, Francophone literature, Identity, Otherness|
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