Senegalese Novel, African Voice: Examining the French Educational System through Aminata Sow Fall’s L'appel des arènes and Cheikh Hamidou Kane’s L'aventure ambiguë

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Virginia Tech

This thesis examines representations of the French educational system in Senegal as presented in L'aventure ambiguë and L'appel des arènes. Each unfolding respectively within a colonial and postcolonial Senegalese context, the novels problematize the French school system by incorporating representations of its failures. As this thesis will argue, analyzing each author's educational discourse will unmask a Senegalese perspective on a French institution, showcase various ways that Senegalese students internalized their educational experience and provide representations of the ways in which French education could be, and was, utilized by its pupils.

Using two African novels in French to interpret historical experience will facilitate understanding of the French educational system from a Senegalese perspective. The first chapters create a foundation for analysis: Chapter two explains French goals and objectives when implementing a formal educational system in West Africa, while chapter three explores the form and function of the African novel in order to present it as a useful historical tool. Having defined the African novel in French as a viable means to interpret historical experience, chapter four focuses analysis on revealing how a system that was meant to procure French dominance, was ultimately transformed into a tool for Senegalese advantage.

Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Senegal, Aminata Sow Fall, Education, African novel in French, Hybridity, French Colonization