Oppression of Women in Assia Djebar’s So Vast The Prison / Assia Djebar’ın Uçsuz Bucaksız Hapishane İsimli Eserinde Kadınların Uğradığı Zulüm

Gönül Bakay


In So Vast the Prison (1995), Assia Djebar examines whether deliverance from the oppression of patriarchy is possible for women and by which means it can be achieved. The title of the novel suggests that a country shaped by colonialism and patriarchy is one vast prison. The power of conservative (patriarchal) ideology is manifested in almost every aspect of women’s lives. The novel is written in the form of a journey.  In this sense, the novel can be read as a quest narrative and the movement from one place to another also corresponds to movement from one language to another. The female narrator blends her personal story with the collective history of Algerian women. She is torn between her desire to live the liberated life of a modern woman and life dictated by traditional Islamic mores. Djebar associates the adoption of the colonialist’s language with a form of death. French, the paternal language of the narrator, is a gateway to freedom in the social world - yet it is the language of colonial authority. It severs the narrator’s ties with her maternal tongue which is Arabic. In order to find her true identity, she has to reach out to her ancestors in her maternal tongue. In the light of these observations, the aim of this article is to critically examine the oppression of women as portrayed in So Vast the Prison.

Anahtar Kelimeler

Assia Djebar, So Vast the Prison, colonialism, language, oppression.

Tam Metin:

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.