Figures fminines et construction identitaire dans les romans de Shenaz Patel
Abstract:This article examines the representation and function of female characters in the fiction of Shenaz Patel, who belongs to the new generation of Mauritian writers. Three novels depicting recent social disruptions on the island are analyzed: Le Portrait Chamarel (2001), Sensitive (2003) and Le Silence des Chagos (2005). Each novel explores more or less explicitly a quest for identity. The identity may be both asserted and questioned as in Le Portrait Chamarel, denied and reclaimed as in Le Silence des Chagos or confused and uncertain as in Sensitive. This analysis of Patel's writing brings to light patterns of meaning and their symbolic and poetic images in particular, the significance of proper names and faces and the recurring link between voice and silence. The article shows how the female characters deal with the difficulties they encounter in their identity construction and the answers they devise: a utopia of multi-coloured insularity, a utopia in reverse or revolt and violence. These solutions and the critical approach used here show that ethical considerations are inseparable from questions of literary aesthetics.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Universit de La Runion.
Publication date: February 1, 2011
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