Master of Arts (MA)


French Studies

Document Type



The theme of cultural identity is one of the main problematic of francophone literature. Through the years, women writers, especially in Guadeloupe and Martinique, used this theme as the main topic of many of their writings. Characters, especially women narrators, try to understand this notion of cultural identity and its construction in other to make this theme theirs, since cultural identity is at the crossroads of their own story, the history of the Caribbean, and the perception these young women have of themselves. A new generation of writers, born in France of Caribbean families, tries today to offer a new outlook on the construction of the cultural identity. In their books, young female characters do not always succeed in finding self-identity. In such cases the consequences are always tragic to the character in question. With this study we will show the evolution of Afro-Caribbean identity in three generations of female writers. Based on four works, La vie sans fards by Maryse Condé, L'exil selon Julia and Fleur de Barbarie by Gisèle Pineau, and D'eaux douces by Fabienne Kanor, this thesis will answer the following questions: what is the representation of cultural identity in the four books of the corpus, and is it possible for the female narrator in each to be successful in redefining her cultural identity? Having analyzed the instability of the narrative voices, the spatiotemporal frame, and the literary genre of the works, it is the mother who is the main obstacle to the construction of the cultural identity, then to the representation of the body which is going to be developed. This long process is not possible without an appeal to the imagination, by writing or reading, and it is finally in the domain of the imagination that the female narrators’ life or death will be ultimately decided.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Nkashama, Pius Ngandu