Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


French Studies

Document Type



My dissertation examines the rewriting of myths by writers from the Ivory Coast: Maïéto Pour Zékia by Bohui Dali, La guerre des femmes by Zadi Zaourou, La révolte d'Affiba by Régina Yaou and Assémien Déhylé, roi du Sanwi by Bernard Dadié. I analyze these texts in the context of nineteenth and twenty century French works by Baudelaire (Le peintre de la vie moderne); Camus (Le mythe de Sisyphe); Aragon (Le paysan de Paris). Comparisons with feminist texts by Beyala (Femme nue, femme noire); Djebar (Femmes d'Alger dans leur appartement); Bâ (Une si longue lettre) underline how the rewriting of myths by Ivorian writers corresponds to a general discourse reflecting the struggle for women's liberation which goes beyond geographical, social and religious boundaries. To define the myth, I explore the works by Barthes (Mythologies), Calame-Griaule (La parole chez les Dogon), and Eliade (Aspects du mythe) on this subject. By questioning ideologies contained in old traditions such as human sacrifice and the inability of women to inherit the material properties of their late husbands, I demonstrate how Ivorian writers analyze and challenge the cultural traditions of their country in order to find how they conflict with modern values. By studying the rewriting of myths in the aforementioned francophone texts, I also address topics such as violence and identity. Since most myths grant more rights to men than to women, the debate over myth in Ivory Coast has become an ideological 'war' between those who take pride in their cultural traditions and refuse to change them and those who want to rewrite them to reflect the greater respect given to women's and children's rights. The examination of these myths has proven how Ivorian writers use their rewriting to make a detailed self-criticism of their cultural traditions and to raise questions about the rights of children and women in Africa. Women's and children's increased access to education is the best 'weapon' against old misogynist myths. 'Education' will lead people to more independent thinking and change the way they look at the world and see themselves in it as well.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Pius Ngandu Nkashama