Graduation Year


Publication Date

Spring 4-24-2013


As a collection of autobiographical short stories or vignettes, Le cœur à rire et à pleurer (Tales From the Heart: True Stories From my Childhood, 1999) represents Guadeloupean author Maryse Condé's (1937 - ) interaction with and dismissal of multiple forms of oppression. As Condé makes use of storytelling and her childhood memories to explore issues of her identity and societal role, her writing transforms into a self-declaration of social change and equality. This paper aims to identify and examine Conde's denial of constructs of Otherness, in her persistent effort to resist the cycle of oppression and to dismiss the generational pressures to conform to patriarchal and colonial values. Informed by psychoanalytic theory and feminist criticism, Condé adapts her own écriture féminine (women’s writing) to assert the significance of women’s voices as tools in breaking the silence of abjection and dismantling hierarchical notions of power.


French and Francophone Language and Literature