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Women's lives and the challenges of feminism in Caribbean fiction: Maryse Conde, "Moi, Tituba, Sorciere...Noire de Salem" (1986), Patrick Chamoiseau, "Texaco" (1992), and Simone Schwarz -Bart, "Pluie et Vent sur Telumee Miracle" (1972)

Esther A Oyediran, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

For the Caribbean woman, the search for identity has been an uphill battle. Not only is she part of a cultural community that is itself grappling with this issue, but her gender puts her at a disadvantage with respect to her male counterpart. However, in recent times, the Caribbean woman has come to occupy an increasingly central position in Francophone fiction. In my examination, I focus on women's experiences within familial discourses and gender relations. I also analyze women's social status as servants, as witches, and as mad women. How do they handle the challenges at various stages? What are their survival strategies? How do these experiences reflect the larger society? How do the visions advanced by the characters and authors work towards achieving their goals? How does feminism play out within women's socio-cultural experiences? Such are some of the questions I attempt to answer in this work. Considering three recent francophone novels---Moi Tituba, sorcière, Texaco, and Pluie et vent sur Télumée Miracle---I argue that these works rewrite women's history, and that rewriting women's history constitutes a rewriting of Caribbean literature. ^ As "autobiographical fictions," these novels subvert the canons of traditional autobiography and establish their own unique identity. They portray a society where the line between the real and the imaginary is blurry; where fiction and non-fiction merge to produce Caribbean history, culture, and literature. It is on this basis that a pact is formed between the authors and the characters, whereby the latter confide in the former to have their story documented. As the characters serve as a link between the past and the present, and help to project the future, in like manner the authors serve as the bridge (the link) between the oral and the written in view of producing works that reflect the real Caribbean. ^

Subject Area

Literature, Caribbean

Recommended Citation

Oyediran, Esther A, "Women's lives and the challenges of feminism in Caribbean fiction: Maryse Conde, "Moi, Tituba, Sorciere...Noire de Salem" (1986), Patrick Chamoiseau, "Texaco" (1992), and Simone Schwarz -Bart, "Pluie et Vent sur Telumee Miracle" (1972)" (2006). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3216337.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3216337

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