Représentations de la femme africana dans « le cycle de l’ombre et la lumière » de Léonora Miano
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This research focuses on the image of black women in Léonora Miano’s African-themed novels. They form the “cycle de l’ombre et la lumière” which is made up of La Saison de l’ombre, the trilogy “Suite Africaine” composed of L’Intérieur de la nuit, Contours du jour qui vient and Les Aubes écarlates, then Crépuscule du tourment, according to the diachronicity of the narratives.
It was observed at first glance that the novels depict heroines and their dynamism vis-a-vis the pre- and postcolonial chaos in the represented microcosms. Most are empowered, or empower themselves notwithstanding their inferior condition a priori, while adapting to the socio-cultural realities of their belief systems. Hence the attempt to answer the question of how Africana Womanism and Beauvoirism – when combined into an existentialist womanism system – would allow the characterization of the “cycle de l’ombre et la lumière” heroines, and hence their erection into literary figures of improving the status of women in francophone African context.
The theoretical assumptions that frame this project lean on Clenora Hudson-Weems’ Africana Womanism, whose African-centered theory focuses on the peculiarities of African and Afrodescendant sociocultures, and their intersectional impact in the fight for gender equality. The Beauvoirian concept of “the woman in situation” comes in as a reinforcement for the examination of situations of revolt, but also atypical cases observed at the level of some characters listed.
After studying characters through textual and stylistic analysis, the research suggests that existentialist womanism enables us to proclaim the universality of the black woman as well as the heterogeneity within the africana group in Léonora Miano’s cycle, while advocating, at the same time, the Africanization of each co(n)textual paradigm of development, especially empowerment.