Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2019

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Language

French

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

French

Advisor

Frederic Rondeau

Second Committee Member

Kathryn Slott

Third Committee Member

Susan Pinette

Abstract

Perpetually exposed to geographical or emotional exile, the human being never finishes discovering himself. Each exile is the beginning of a new adventure in which chance holds the reins. In this thesis, I will analyze the writing of the exile of three French-speaking immigrants who have settled in Canada for some time. Born elsewhere than in Canada, the three French-Canadian writers reflected on their status, what they would have become if they did not immigrate to this country from their respective countries torn apart by the war, dictatorship or even cultural oppression. The search for a stable life and security prevailed throughout their travels and the first moments in the new country. More pragmatic than idealistic, they all knew that the task would not be easy once arrived at their destination. As a result, under the pressure of circumstances, they agreed to transform themselves. The project is significant, but sometimes their cultural and spiritual beliefs resurface. It is obvious they still have part of their roots connected to their origin countries. However, my analysis also looks at the difference in the female experience of emigration that differs substantially from the male experience. This difference, which represents a big problem, is often overlooked. According to my thesis, I will try to illustrate the different experiences the three writers lived in their journey. The point is to understand the hardship they overcame and how their identities are challenged. Would it be easier to go away and live an American life, or die to put an end to the suffering? The first writer is Dany Laferrière, who is originally from Haiti. I focus over two of his novels, the first one is Chronique de la dérive douce and the second is L' Énigme du retour. I also use some of his other novels that are communicating with the two novels I am working on. Then the second writer is Kim Thuy who is from Vietnam. I will focus on two of her novels, Vi and Ru. These two novels complete each other. The author begins the story of exile with the Ru and finishes the journey with Vi. Finally, the third writer Ying Chen is from China. I'm going to focus on two of her novels which are Les lettres chinoises and L’Ingratitude.

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