Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Mary McAlplin

Committee Members

Matthew Thomas Brauer, Rosalind Hackett


This work examines three novels by two authors from two West African countries; Mbarek Ould Beyrouk from Mauritania, and Fatou Diome from Senegal. These writers use their novels as a weapon to fight and advocate for the condition of Mauritanian and Senegalese women against the religious and patriarchal system, especially within the Islamic and animist context. In their novels, they deal with contemporary themes such as widowhood rites, slavery, force-feeding (leblouh) and forced marriages as tools used by religious and traditionalist men to oppress and humiliate young girls and women and also to elevate the status of men in their respective countries. In these four-chapters, a critical study and a systematic analysis is conducted to identify some of the negative effects of widowhood rites, slavery, force-feeding (leblouh), early and forced marriage on women and young girls in these respective countries. The feminist theory and religion would be used as a theoretical framework to further analyze the themes represented in the narratives. This work also incorporates and uses as a model the writings of Mongo Beti, Khadi Fall and Veronique Tadjo with regards to religion as well as writers of women's literature such as Mariama Bâ and Awa Thiam whose work deal with the oppression faced by women within the patriarchal system. The essay analyzes these three novels as committed literature that convey a strong political and contemporary message that merit attention

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