Le totem réinventé : exploration de l'identité et redéfinition de soi dans la fiction amérindienne contemporaine

Abstract : The quest for identity is a central topic of North American contemporary Native fiction which recurrently dwells on the ontological confusion experienced by Native and bicultural protagonists and the subsequent urge to come to terms with their distinctiveness. Indeed, in many novels and short-stories the heroes, or anti-heroes, attempt to recover their lost dignity for better or worse while overcoming obstacles and enduring ordeals that sometimes prove absurd. Meanwhile, an unexpected magic pervades the crude descriptions of modern day life on Canadian reserves and American reservations and intrudes in the most trivial situations eventually transcending fate and destiny. The hybrid tutelar spirits thus staged, symbolically referring as much to the Western world as to secular indigenous traditions, disguise their presence with the aim to bring together the estranged protagonists in a reshaped modern clan. By so doing, these supernatural forces endow the characters' physical and spiritual journeys with renewed meanings. Such a process directly alludes to ritualized totemism, an array of ancient animistic practices and beliefs thoroughly documented by 19th century anthropologists. Interestingly, many contemporary Native authors, among whom Louise Erdrich, David Treuer, Eden Robinson et Joseph Boyden, contrive new totems in order to address otherwise the identity issue. This thesis aims to demonstrate how their literary reinvention of totemism engages a threefold movement, to perpetuate, rejuvenate and (re)create a specific form of Native identity.
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Caroline Durand-Rous. Le totem réinventé : exploration de l'identité et redéfinition de soi dans la fiction amérindienne contemporaine. Littératures. Université de Perpignan, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017PERP0043⟩. ⟨tel-01708468⟩

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