Two Major Francophone Women Writers, Assia Djaebar and Leila Sebbar: A Thematic Study of Their Works

Two Major Francophone Women Writers, Assia Djaebar and Leila Sebbar: A Thematic Study of Their Works

Two Major Francophone Women Writers, Assia Djaebar and Leila Sebbar: A Thematic Study of Their Works

Two Major Francophone Women Writers, Assia Djaebar and Leila Sebbar: A Thematic Study of Their Works

Synopsis

Rafika Merini is Associate Professor of French at the State University College at Buffalo where she also coordinated the Women's Studies Interdisciplinary Unit for six years.

Excerpt

My goal for this study is not only to discern parallels, similarities, and differences based on the aesthetic theories, world views, and historical events shaping them but also to trace the literary, sociological, cultural, ideological, and historical conflicts dealt with in Assia Djébar and Leïla Sebbar's texts and intertexts, and their relationship with cultural ideologies and with language. This is why I researched the signifiers of femininity underlying the originating, unveiling, and demystifying which occur in their works, effectively subverting what may be called the culture of voyeurism. These signifiers are in turn tropes, or aesthetic units of meaning which show how certain realities, conditions, and cultural ideologies are perceived and how they can best be rendered in a universally appealing and artistic way, whether they be beliefs (within and without institutionalized religion), colonialism, capitalism and economic development, socialism, East-West or North-South conflicts, feminism, polygamy, divorce, nationalism, war, revolutions, etc. a socio-literary approach to these works was adopted as it appears best suited to a comprehensive exploration of these realities.

Whether the fictional and/or real results are success, the return to one's roots, alienation, exile with or without fame, compromise, the destruction of the self or of others, or a combination of the above, Djébar and Sebbar treat these issues with their own “filter” for “viewing” reality which is just as valid as men's “filter” as Doris Lessing once wrote. Moreover, it is known among the women of Arabic culture that “she who writes of her anxieties in men's logic is a foolish one.”

I also attempt to assess the inhibition Maghrebian characters and writers acquire which turns into self-censorship as they witness the voyeur turning them into “sex objects of consumption” and become defensive, adopting the attitude that whatever the “evil eye, ” (this “evil . . .

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