Identifier

etd-06052012-121236

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

French Studies

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Reunion Island and its literature both reflect a unique world of métissage unveiling a hybrid culture and population. Through centuries, Reunionese authors have used their writings as a means to portray the reality of their complex métisse society. Uninhabited until the seventeenth century, Reunion became a focal point for many nations and peoples who brought their own cultures and traditions. Such diversity, linked to the economic needs of the colony, led to the creation of a new creole language along with a new culture. In the novel Le Nègre Blanc de Bel Air, the Reunionese author Jean-François Samlong focuses on the problems of a hybrid identity through his depiction of the events of December 20th, 1848, a key date in the island’s history as it represents the official end of slavery. Based on Samlong’s novel, this thesis addresses the construction of a Reunionese hybrid identity. Using Claire de Duras’ novel Ourika and Alexandre Dumas’ work Georges, along with Le Nègre Blanc, the first chapter examines education as a process leading to the development of a confused and antagonist identity. Thus, the individual becomes a composite of knowledge, traditions and cultures. Such a mixing does not allow him (her), to belong to a specific class as (s)he represents a new type of individual: the hybrid. Therefore, the second chapter emphasizes La Reunion’s hybridity and confused identity. Samlong uses his novel’s protagonist, Songol, as a symbol of the island’s hybridity and métissage in order to highlights the contemporary problems of the Reunionese.

Date

2012

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Peters, Rosemary

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