Transculturality and the francophone mother Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Connolly, Allison Spellman
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Romance Studies
  • This dissertation examines the representation of complex mother figures presented in Francophone literature. I focus my analysis on literature from three distinct Francophone regions: the French Caribbean, North Africa, and Quebec. Pluie et vent sur Télumée Miracle (1972) by Simone Schwarz-Bart and L'espérance-macadam (1995) and L'exil selon Julia (1996) by Gisèle Pineau put forth both positive and negative mother figures from Guadeloupe. La femme sans sépulture (2002) by Assia Djebar and Des rêves et des assassins (1995) by Malika Mokeddem depict the struggles of North African mothers and their children, both in Algeria and abroad. Finally, from Quebec, Ying Chen's L'Ingratitude (1995) and Abla Farhoud’s Le bonheur à la queue glissante (2004) demonstrate the repressive patriarchal structure that inhibits mother figures and has lasting repercussions in the lives of their children. Close reading of these texts reveals the multiple roles mothers play in postcolonial contexts, including primary breadwinner, guardian of culture, and participant in a war of liberation. In examining mother figures within and across various Francophone regions, this dissertation uncovers the complexities of the maternal role in transcultural societies. Drawing links between women of different continents, cultural heritages, and religious traditions, the study examines problematic issues pertaining to mother figures in postcolonial contexts, including those linked to exile, gender, and symbolic violence. I argue that the seven novels chosen for this dissertation resuscitate women’s forgotten voices. Furthermore, while recognizing the powerful role held by mother figures in certain circumstances, I uncover the nuances of the maternal figure, which point to the distinct disadvantages she experiences in postcolonial, transcultural societies, including but not limited to language barriers, isolation and repression by the patriarchy.
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  • In Copyright
  • Fisher, Dominique D.
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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