Otherness and vulnerability in Nella Larsen's novels

Abstract : Otherness and Vulnerability in Nella Larsen’s Novels is devoted to the study of the concepts of alterity, vulnerability and belonging in Quicksand and Passing. Revolving around the questions of identity for black and mixed-race women, the study starts with a historical perspective of "otherness" in Nella Larsen’s novels while considering the marginalization that African-Americans went through during the Harlem Renaissance. Indeed, Larsen demonstrates that even if the 1920s were supposed to be an era of emancipation for colored people, they still suffered from many discriminations. Analyzing the concepts of race, passing, and vulnerability in Nella Larsen’s fictions leads us to prove that even if the protagonists’ otherness is confronted to many hardships that seem to eradicate it, it never fades away and remains present in each character. Submitting the novels to a multi-disciplinary approach has enabled us to examine the causes and consequences of otherness in the works of fiction and to analyze the concept under several forms. This thesis eventually shows that Larsen’s novels go counter the principle of totalitarianism as a system, be it social, political or linguistic in which "otherness" stands as the only possible way to establish one's identity.
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Lamia Mokrane Touati. Otherness and vulnerability in Nella Larsen's novels. Linguistics. Université Côte d'Azur, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018AZUR2015⟩. ⟨tel-01955243⟩

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