Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Francesca Canade Sautman

Committee Members

Lucienne Serrano

Renee Waldinger

Subject Categories

French and Francophone Language and Literature


In an effort to reconstruct a History that has been marked by discontinuity and displacement, Simone Schwarz-Bart–a woman writer from Guadeloupe–has written two novels that are infused by the oral tradition of the Caribbean. This dissertation studies the diverse manifestations of the oral genres (such as songs/chants, sayings, proverbs, riddles, etc.) within the novels Pluie et vent sur Telumee Miracle and Ti Jean L'horizon. This author has given a new dimension to the written French language, even though the Creole language is not transcribed into the texts, it is nevertheless the material out of which the texture of these novels is made.

This work is also concerned with the various representations of "orality" within these novels. Talking and eating become empowering tools that help the characters to assert their individual and collective identities. The drum is also a metaphor that takes the place of the human voice. For instance, the African drum language is created by using repetitions and redundant phrases in order to disambiguate the words "spoken". In this sense, Schwarz-Bart imitates the drum language, using repetitions throughout her novels. These repetitions are necessary for the task that she has undertaken, it is through repetition and recalling that the Caribbean peoples will be able to re-appropriate an identity and a physical location. "Orality" and the role that women play in these novels are the central points in this study. Women are able to perpetuate their cultural belonging and heritage, as well as become empowered individuals that "disambiguate" and give continuity to the collective History of their country through memory and the spoken word.


Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.