Through A Female Lens: Aspects of Masculinity in Francophone African Women's Writing
AdvisorD'Almeida, Irene Assiba
Committee ChairD'Almeida, Irene Assiba
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study was motivated by the realization that the subject of masculinity in African women's writing has not yet been explored. Little attention has been given to the analysis of women's writing with the tools that theories of masculinities provide. This study, therefore, sets to analyze the different masculinities in African women's fiction.The writers whose works are examined in include So Long a Letter (1981) and Scarlet Song (1986) by Mariama Ba, The Beggars' Strike (1981) by Aminata Sow Fall, Vies de femmes (1983) by Delphine Zanga Tsogo, The Sun Hath Looked Upon Me (1996) and Your Name Shall Be Tanga (1996) by Calixthe Beyala, La tache de sang (1990) by Philomene Bassek, and finally, Sous la cendre le feu (1990) by Evelyne Mpoudi Ngolle.To carry out my investigation I use Robert Connell's (2005) perspective on masculinity. Connell recognizes that masculinity is a social construct rather that a biological state. He also argues that there is a variety of masculinities and that masculinity exists only in relation to femininity.The dissertation is divided in five parts. Part One provides the tools necessary for my literary analysis. These include the purpose, significance, and scope of the study, the conceptual and theoretical framework, which comprises definitions and approaches to masculinity in general and in specific African contexts. This part ends with the discussion of selected authors and texts.Part Two discusses the emergence of African Francophone women writers. It examines the reasons for African women's late entry into the literary world and how they represent their experiences. Parts Three and Four constitute the core of my study. It explores how a specific form of masculinity, known as hegemonic masculinity, is enacted in African women's literary texts.Part Four centers on male characters who reject the hegemonic forms of masculinity and seek a more egalitarian relationship with women. Part Five, which is essentially the conclusion to this work, summarizes the findings of my study. My analysis makes visible three categories of masculinity enacted by the different male characters that I examined. They include hegemonic masculinities, ambiguous masculinities and alternative masculinities.