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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Trois romancières noires, trois similitudes dans les répresentations fictives de la condition féminine en Afrique et aux Antilles Edwards, Allen George

Abstract

African and Caribbean literatures written by women had their beginnings during the fifties, but did not find firmer literary anchoring until the seventies. They have now come into their own, significantly changing the intransigent view of the established patriarchal literary canon. Through the use of spaces attributed to women (the kitchen and the bedroom) and roles assigned to them by an androcratic society, writers such as Calixthe Beyala, Edwidge Danticat and Myriam Warner-Vieyra have brought to light the socio-cultural condition of the African and Caribbean woman. Their works illustrate how women are the keepers, yet the prisoners of tradition. They demonstrate the juxtaposition of modernity with the aforementioned tradition, showing how women are left in a socio-cultural limbo, having rather stark choices when it comes to mastering their lives, not to mention finding equal social footing with their masculine counterparts. Beyala, Danticat, and Warner-Vieyra textually demonstrate socio-cultural dilemmas which women must confront. The women they represent must also indicate ways in which to achieve their "becoming" without putting either their aspirations of freedom or what they perceive to be their womanhood in jeopardy. Using a spatio-socio-cultural approach tempered with consideration of the formalistic aspects of their work, our intention is to show how these writers depict women on the verge of revolt, or in revolt as well as those classified as phallocratic, all of whom underscore the necessity for feminine harmony and collectivity if success in enhancing the condition of women on both the social and cultural levels is to be achieved. These writers illustrate avenues of freedom that are extraordinarily non-traditional in their perception and execution: notably madness and prostitution. These authoresses, and many others of their ilk, have chosen the power of the word as their arm of socio-cultural empowerment and are doing much to change the status of not only African and Caribbean women, but women in general.

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