A comparative analysis of works of Maryse Conde and Gisele Pineau: literary representations of trauma and its transgenerational effect on the postcolonial Caribbean family

Niroshani Dhammi Kumari Rathnayake Rathnayake Mudiyanselage

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] This thesis provides an insight into the representations of trauma generated by slavery in selected novels of two contemporary French Caribbean writers: Maryse Condé and Gisèle Pineau. My research question is: how do representations of experiences of personal trauma in selected works of Condé and Pineau affect a cycle of dysfunctionality within the family unit? I borrow the term 'transgenerational trauma', coined by Nicolas Abraham, to describe this type of experience. Past studies have undertaken an in-depth analysis of trauma in Condé's and Pineau’s work. However, this study proposes to address the theme of trauma by focusing on depictions of the recurrence of family dysfunctionality in postcolonial Caribbean society. Contemporary scholars such as Bonnie Thomas and Nayana P. Abeysinghe have examined the representation of trauma in Caribbean literature. Thomas examines trauma and its transgenerational nature in Gisèle Pineau's Chair Piment (2002) and Mes Quatre Femmes (2007) and suggests that Pineau's work reflects the effects of slavery and colonisation which continue to define Caribbean identity. Abeysinghe examines the transmission of traumatic memory in the works of Condé and Pineau. Neither has looked at Condé's and Pineau's work in comparative perspective which allows to uncover how the Caribbean family unit, and in particular the Caribbean woman, has been affected by trauma across generations. Like Abeysinghe I also examine the transmission of traumatic memory. However, I examine transgenerational trauma as the catalyst for family dysfunctionality through the lens of Nicola King's rememory and Marianne Hirsch’s postmemory. Each chapter studies two novels from each author and five novels in total for each author...
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2013


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