Date of Award

5-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

French

Major Professor

Douja M. Mamelouk

Committee Members

John B. Romeiser, Awa Sarr

Abstract

This thesis is an analysis of problematic identity in French Canadian literature ("Quebecois literature"). I propose to study this issue through two works, the first written by a French-Canadian writer, Jacques Poulin, and the second, created by an Arab author who immigrated to Quebec, Wajdi Mouawad. My investigation demonstrates how the unique context of Quebec's writing explores identity while highlighting a status that is reminiscent of exile. The metaphor of identity, adjoined to the literature from Quebec, as represented by Poulin’s "Volkswagen Blues" (1984) manifests itself in the works of Mouawad, particularly in the play "Incendies" (2003) and the novel "Visage retrouvé" (2002). Drawing on the theory of Pierre Nepveu in his critical work "L’écologie du réel. Mort et naissance de la littérature contemporaine au Québec” [The Ecology of the Reel. Birth and Death of contemporary Quebecois Literature], I will define the cultural context which characterizes this specific literature. Thus, this work highlights the problematic issue of exile as it is represented within this particular literary history. I suggest to study the texts separately, to identify the aspects that illustrate exile within the literary and critical history of Quebecois literature. Hence, I will not only demonstrate how this exiled status created an environment conducive to the emergence of migrant literature, but also how the latest Quebecois eclectic genre actually reinforced its own historical identity quest.

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