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Memory and Strategies of Displacement in Malika Mokeddem, Nina Bouraoui, and Paulina Chiziane's Literature

Armianu, Irina

In cosmopolitanism as a unity of global differences, women are still considered second-class citizens, as exposed by contemporary African women writers. Such details on different female characters as reconstructed by Malika Mokkedem, Nina Bouraoui, and Paulina Chiziane, are fictional but essentially born from a collective truth of a much-culturally diversified African population, corroborating traditions with western influences.  A deep identity crisis continues to haunt African women at home or as refugees. Particularly, nationalism and sexism pose a critical issue in performing identities in a post-colonial and post-national era.
Exploring the socio-political context of these migrant experiences through literature has the potential to reveal a deep understanding of real-life conditions of women in postcolonial Africa. This is often related to political issues, namely the rising of extremist parties as in Mokkedem’s rural Algeria, nationalistic views in France and Algeria as in Bouraoui’s Garçon Manqué, and resuscitation of ancient practices as in the revival of polygamy in Chizanes’s The First Wife.
Although fictional, these stories prompt the identity as a functional parameter for the validity of the story that an author builds about her. The narrative identity thesis has been criticized for its incapacity to fully comprehend one’s personality on multiple times settings. However it may serve as a practical guide to depict identity markers that immigrant francophone writers have in common: their resonance with traditions, their adaptability to a presupposed advanced occidental society, or their power to inspire immigrants’ rights in the ‘50 and ‘60.

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