This thesis looks at how the Other is constructed in Western short fiction. Western writers have represented the Orient through the ages, calling on images disseminated by Orientalism. Such representations result in deconstructing the humanity of the Other and denying them a voice, as Edward Said has shown in his works. Focusing on one particular location, North Africa, the thesis examines how two modern Western writers viewed and represented the natives and the Maghreb (Algeria and Morocco). I chose two creative writers who had a first-hand experience with the Other through decades of living in North Africa—the Algerian French Albert Camus and the American expatriate Paul Bowles who situated most of their work in North Africa. In analyzing the themes of their short fiction along with close reading of “La femme adultère” of Camus and “Allal” of Bowles, the thesis concludes that despite their affinity to the place--having either been brought up in it as in the case of Camus or chose to reside in it as in the case of Bowles—they represented the natives negatively. While Camus had the protagonist desire and even merge with the Algerian desert, the Algerian characters themselves were presented as inarticulate and marginal. The ultimate mystical union of the protagonist with the desert indicates the colons’ desire to merge with the land but not with its people. Bowles, on the other hand, does represent the Other, but dehumanizes the protagonist by depicting his beastly violence making him act like a reptile. Trapped in the Orientalist framework, Camus’s Other remains a shadowy character; for Bowles the Other is depicted in animalistic metaphors.
English & Comparative Literature Department
MA in English & Comparative Literature
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Library of Congress Subject Heading 1
Said, Edward W.
Library of Congress Subject Heading 2
Camus, Albert, 1913-1960.
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(2015).Constructing the orient: North Africa in the short stories of Albert Camus and Paul Bowles [Master’s thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Hamdy, Lamish Abdelaziz. Constructing the orient: North Africa in the short stories of Albert Camus and Paul Bowles. 2015. American University in Cairo, Master's thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.