SOUS LE SPECTRE DU PÈRE: POÉTIQUE ET POLITIQUE DE LA DÉPENDANCE ET DU SEVRAGE DANS LE ROMAN POSTCOLONIAL AFRICAIN
Shamba, Mbumburwanza N.
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This thesis analyzes the major theme of ‘postcolonial genealogy’ in portraying the African bending under the weight of colonial history in Le vieux nègre et la médaille, Une vie de boy of Ferdinand Oyono and Le Chercheur d’Afriques of Henri Lopes. Being a product of a colonial Genesis, the African character runs behind the colonizer’s mirror through his Civilizing Mission. René Girard’s ‘double bind’ theory explains how this cultural assimilation is, in Le vieux nègre et la médaille and Une vie de boy, a dead end because the colonizer needs a subordinate and not an equal. The cohabitation of a black housewife with the French Commander in Le Chercheur d’Afriques should be seen as simply an allegory of postcolonial Africa’s dependency on the West. The consequences of the feminization of the African continent are enormous in the post-colonial imaginary. While the colonizer had conquered Africa with his Herculean body, in Oyono’s novels, his Fall is obtained through the aesthetics of Bakhtinian ‘rabaissement’ which degrades his ‘grotesque body’ to that of the colonized. The colonizer and the colonized are neutralized and leveled in their perishable bodies, thus, making futile the Civilizing Mission that operated by ranking races. Power is never total. It is always imperfect, and can never destroy a subjectivity that resists it. In Oyono’s novels, the Fall of the colonial Father is also obtained through the inquisitive gaze that the colonized return back to the colonizer, and through their ‘subversive mimicry’ that parodies his codes. In Une vie de boy and Le Chercheur d’Afriques, the ‘son-Father’ relationship between the hero and the colonial Father, is also symbolic of the ‘Africa-West’ rapports. Living under the specter of the Father, the son has to negotiate his survival between weaning and parricide. The biological miscegenation in Le Chercheur d’Afriques is a metaphor of the ‘rhizome identity’ of the postcolonial African who renounces both the Fathers of Negritude and those of the Civilizing Mission.
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