Caribbean Journal of Philosophy, Vol 2, No 1 (2010)

Fanon and Mayotte Capécia

Natalie Nya


The objective of this paper is to first present Fanon‘s assessment of Mayotte Capécia‘s writing and then analyze the content of Capécia‘s writing from the novelist‘s own perspective. I argue that, within oppressive colonial situations, the oppressed can self-narrate a coherent sense of identity that substantially reflects their personal situation. The race narratives of the heroines, Isaure and Mayotte, are questioned by the characters within the novels and then by the author‘s contemporaries. As a result, Capécia‘s contemporaries, such as Fanon and Leonard Sainville, question the racial and ethnic authenticity of Capécia herself. With the attempt to blur the line between the author and her characters, Fanon suggests that because of the heroines‘ own ambivalence to their racial/social condition, these women, the author included, cannot self-define. What Fanon finds racially ambivalent within the social condition of the heroines are the relationships the women have with men. Because of this, the heroines and the author lose racial credit in Fanon‘s eyes. In this paper, I seek to examine how particular social contexts signify personal identities that are perpetually called into question. Finally, since my paper is situated within the colonial context of Martinique, my thesis will give examples of how an oppressed person gains agency in a male-dominated colonial society.

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