Dysnosties: Le récit du retour au pays natal dans la littérature canadienne francophone contemporaine
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This project examines the development of the theme of return to the native land in eleven texts that attest to the diversity of the communities built and represented by contemporary French Canadian literature: Pélagie-la-Charrette by Antonine Maillet, Le Premier jardin by Anne Hébert, La Pêche blanche by Lise Tremblay, La Saga des Béothuks by Bernard Assiniwi, Incendies by Wajdi Mouawad, Lignes de faille by Nancy Huston, Ourse bleue by Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau, Le Retour de Lorenzo Sánchez by Sergio Kokis, L’Énigme du retour by Dany Laferrière, Nos échoueries by Jean-François Caron and Rivière Mékiskan by Lucie Lachapelle. My purpose is to analyze how these works all describe the movement of return as a source of dysnostia, a crucial conflict that challenges the individual’s own identity, as well as the cohesion and the social project of the community as a whole. I argue that, by questioning the concepts of identity, community and belonging, the works of my corpus all aim at a renewal of the community itself – this community being developed inside (text), outside (context), or through the very narrative it gave birth to. This thesis thematically refers to the three concepts challenged by the tale of return to the native land. In the first part, I examine how the works of my corpus question the concept of identity through the spectrum of two fundamental narratives: The Odyssey by Homer and Oedipus the King by Sophocles. Focused on the concept of community, the second part unveils how the tale of return aims at renewing the community while challenging it in conceptual and ideological terms. In the last part, I examine specific problems linked by my corpus to the phenomenon of surmodernité, as well as to exile and genocide. I discuss the possibility, for the community as for the individuals themselves, to develop a feeling of belonging through and despite the disappearance of the native land. In my conclusions, I develop the concept of dysnostia while examining its relationship with geocriticism.