Assia Djebar’s Fantasia, an Algerian Cavalcade (1985) and Yvonne Vera’s The Stone Virgins (2002): A Comparative Study
Mouloud MAMMERI University of Tizi-Ouzou
This dissertation is concerned with the issue of feminism in two novels belonging to the postcolonial literature, by exploring feminine enunciation in the works of the Algerian writer Assia Djebar’s Fantasia, an Algerian Cavalcade (1985) and the Zimbabwean author Yvonne Vera’s The Stone Virgins (2002). It postulates that even though the lives of Algerian and Zimbabwean women were shaped by different historical forces and social traditions, common themes exist in their writings because of their common postcolonial background. Both Djebar and Vera examine the relations of women to history in a postcolonial setting, and disclose the double oppression women experienced during colonial and postcolonial times as colonized and gendered subjects. In exploring feminine enunciation in the two novels, we intend to compare the events evoked by the two writers, and to draw some similarities between the two struggles for independence provoked by the French and British colonial invaders and next, by the discourse of neo-nationalism in the two countries Algeria and Zimbabwe, respectively. This study also explores the two authors’ respective language and style. The colonial language and poetic style engaged in Djebar’s and Vera’s selected narratives negotiate the liberation of the subaltern in accordance with the basic ideas of postcolonial gendered subaltern, as articulated by Gayatri Spivak, in particular. One of the main themes in the works of Djebar and Vera is that of women’s body. Both writers impose the materiality of the female body and experience it within the contexts of colonialism, oppositional nationalism, and feminist discourses through details of sexual violence that the women of the colonized nation endured in colonial and post-independence periods.