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Writing as wounding and healing in Djebar’s Nulle part dans la maison de mon père

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In Assia Djebar’s Nulle part dans la maison de mon père (2007), the narrator recalls a suicide attempt which she made as an adolescent shortly before the outbreak of the Algerian war of independence. This article explores the motives behind the narrator’s death wish. Djebar portrays a woman who has moved through two cultures, that of the colonizer and that of the colonized, but feels exiled from both; this feeling is summarized by her sense that she has ‘no place’ in her father’s house. At the same time, the narrator connects the suicide attempt with the role of the father in her formative years; he and her first boyfriend, together, are jointly responsible (‘deux responsables’) for her inability to lead the kind of life she believes would have brought her fulfilment. But rather than pin the blame on these two individuals, she fits lost opportunities within a wider social and political context, in which not only she, but her parents had been caught up in the tensions of colonized Algeria that were soon to explode into violence. Meanwhile, the whole text is impregnated by nostalgia for the lost paternal grandmother, and everything she represented for the narrator’s younger self.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Kent

Publication date: December 10, 2012

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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