With its harsh criticisms of political fervor generated by the French Revolution vuras well as social behaviors—namely, French upper-class elitism—this was a risky novel for its time. Lastly, Ourika is the only French novel I have read so far that testifies to the Christian faith. After the nun finishes her story, the doctor continues to visit, but her remedies prove vain when Ourika dies at the end of October. Brought up in a household of learning and privilege, she is unaware of her difference until she overhears a conversation that makes her suddenly conscious of her race — and of the prejudice it arouses. Want to Read saving…. Still, it was pleasant to tackle this and I have a lot of respect for Duras for writing and publishing such a novel at the time she did.
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Overview[ edit ] Ourika is a story based on the life of a woman who was purchased as a child in or around by the Chevalier de Boufflers, the colonial administrator of Senegal, and given as a gift to the de Beauvau family.
The novel marks a critical point in European literature. It is the first French text to depict a black woman character with a complex psychology. It signifies an important movement from traditional notions of race, nationality, and kinship towards the identity politics of today. She only did so to prevent any possible plagiarism [ citation needed ], as she recounted the story—with much acclaim—to those attending her salon in post- Revolutionary Paris. Summary[ edit ] The novel opens from the point of view of a doctor, who has been called to treat a dying young nun in a convent.
This nun is a young black woman called Ourika, who is dying of "melancholia. Ourika begins by relating how she was "saved" from the slave trade as an infant by the governor of Senegal, and brought back to Paris as a gift for Madame de B. She is raised well, according to the standards for white Parisian girls of high society-she is taught to sing by the best voice coaches, instructed in painting by a famous artist, is well-read and is accomplished in many languages.
Ourika also says that prior to a critical moment in her life at the age of twelve, she had no consciousness of her race or any other racial barriers: "I reached the age of twelve without it once occurring to me that there was a way of being happy beside mine. I was told that I was an angel. There was nothing to warn me that the color of my skin might be a disadvantage. A friend of Mme de B.
This drives her into depression, or "melancholy," that is so deep that she almost dies. She finally ends up retreating to the convent, where the doctor meets her. The doctor, also the narrator Ourika Madame de B.
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DURAS OURIKA PDF
Shelves: colonial , women-writing , senegal To imagine that Ourika is a simply a tale about a woman who is distraught over a man is to severely misread the richness of this novel, which offers a complex regard of race, blackness, womanhood, identity, and intercultural acceptance. With its harsh criticisms of political fervor generated by the French Revolution as well as social behaviors--namely, French upper-class elitism--this was a risky novel for its time. It tells the story of a Senagalese girl who, one day, suddenly realizes she is To imagine that Ourika is a simply a tale about a woman who is distraught over a man is to severely misread the richness of this novel, which offers a complex regard of race, blackness, womanhood, identity, and intercultural acceptance. Yet Ourika comes to discover and despair over just this: her status as an outsider is developed by being talked about by the very woman she trusted, loved, and admired. With it begins a continued recognition of negation that accompanies alientation--in addition to not-French, she is not-daughter, not-wife, not-mother, etc. A quote from Trinh Minh-Ha may well summarize how to approach Ourika: "In trying to tell something, a woman is told, shredding herself into opaque words while her voice dissolves on the walls of silence.
Kazisida The novella covers the time before, during, and after the French Revolution and addresses key themes of racenationalityexileinterracial love and kinship and the psychological adjustment to these. Was intrigued by the story and its length — at 75 pages, I thought that maybe it would be a nice, simple, tightly-written story. What did the world care whether I lived? For perhaps the first time in literary history, author Claire de Duras writes about the life of a black heroine surrounded on all sides by whites. I had to read this book. Ourika is a story based on the life of a woman who was purchased as a child in or around by the Chevalier de Boufflers, the colonial administrator of Senegal, and given dras a gift to the de Beauvau family.