UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

La construction de soi en l'absence de la figure parentale : Martine Delvaux, Annie Ernaux et Georges Perec Blanc, Magali Suzanne Ida


This dissertation focuses on writers who embark on an adventure of self-writing through narratives mixing reality and fiction. The research was carried out within the field of autofiction, but also that of narratology. I seek to demonstrate the complexities of the subject who reclaims their identity through the exploration of a past marked by the absence of the parental figure. In the novels selected: Blanc dehors by Martine Delvaux (2015), Les Années by Annie Ernaux (2008) and W ou le souvenir d’enfance by Georges Perec (1975), the characters face an identity crisis, because they question their family, genetic or even social and historical heritage. These three novels belong to the genre of filiation stories as studied by Dominique Viart and Laurent Demanze at the beginning of the 21st century. I paid particular attention to the things left unsaid, memory lapses and gaps as they sometimes reveal much more than words. In each novel, the absences are part of a historical or family trauma and are transposed into the very fabric of self-writing. The questions underpinning all of the novels of the corpus are the following: How to write about oneself when part of one’s heritage is missing? What is the extent of parental reference regarding the identity of the subject? This so-called reference is the answer to the resolution of their lack of identity or does it reside elsewhere? In short, this dissertation demonstrates how absence (and everything linked to it) is the keystone of a complete identity.

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