Prostitution chez Calixthe Beyala: race, corps, regard.
Calixthe Beyala proves to be one of, if not the most creative writer within Francophone literature. She is also one of the most controversial. Following the publication of her best-selling novel Le Petit Prince de Belleville in 1992, she was accused of plagiarism. Despite this fact, she remains an influential author. Born and raised in Cameroon, Beyala immigrated to France at the age of seventeen. She published her first novel, Cest le soleil qui ma brûlée, at the age of twenty-three and is now the author of more than fifteen novels. Her stories discuss the difficulties encountered by most African men and women upon arriving in France. Their dreams of freedom and integration to the French culture are often shattered by the reality of racism, poverty and prostitution. In all her works, Beyala uses a recurring character, a strong and independent African woman, who is forced to prostitute herself. Crucial elements in Calixthe Beyalas writing of the Parisian world of prostitution are the dynamics of race, gender and history between the black/ African female and the white/ French male.
Using Jean Baudrillards idea of mascarade and simulacra, along with Frantz Fanons concept of the white mask, this essay shows that the prostitute in Beyalas novels exists behind a façade created for her by the history of colonization and slavery. The intensity and weight of the white colonizers gaze have never faded and, as Beyala demonstrates in her novels, they have intensified to the point where the gaze absolutely controls interracial relationships. Using Albert Memmis Portrait du colonisé, this paper also explores the exiled African mans psyche and compares it to the African womans. While Calixthe Beyala describes the former as a victim of the white mask, the latter appears to be seeing through the eyes of the mask. In doing so, the African woman is able to fight for her future as well as the future of Africa.
Advisor:Benedicte Boisseron; Christopher Anderson; Naomi Shin
School:The University of Montana
School Location:USA - Montana
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:modern and classical languages literatures
Date of Publication:07/23/2007