Les tiers-espaces une analyse de l'ambivalence dans La bagarre et Les pédagogues de Gérard Bessette, The apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz et The Street de Mordecai Richler
In Critical Practice, Catherine Belsey states how traditionally, classic realism is interpreted as a genre that"presents individuals whose traits of character, understood as essential and predominantly given, constrain the choices they make" (Belsey 74). Belsey's claim is significant in that it articulates what is often the locus of tension and conflict in the genre: rigid, essentialist identitary discourse.In summarizing and considering the various identitary discourses at play within Mordecai Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and The Street and Gérard Bessette's La bagarre and Les pédagogues, the purpose of this thesis is to analyse how issues surrounding constructions of identity are dramatized in these classic realist, satirical texts in order to show how their cultural work in terms of identity can be understood as being more ambivalent than has heretofore often been thought. The thesis' theoretical focus is rooted primarily in post-colonial theory, especially the ways it interrogates representations of cultural and ethnic struggles for recognition and power that are a result of colonial and/or cultural hegemonic domination. More specifically, the thesis discusses and appropriates the theory and concepts of the post-colonial critic Homi K. Bhabha, particularly in terms of how the selected primary texts can be said to exemplify Bhabha's notions of ambivalence, hybridity and a Third Space of identity; how the narratives' main conflicts and tensions around identity can be better understood by looking at how some of the characters can be said to inhabit a Third Space. However, the thesis will also show that while Bhabha's claim that instances of ambivalence, hybridity and the Third Space in the selected texts can be said to represent" neither the one [...], nor the Other [...] but something else besides which contests the terms and the territories of both [i.e. of competing identities]," (Bhabha 41) their concomitant essentialist discourses can be said to trouble the idealism of Bhabha's faith in such notions.In short, this thesis posits that though the selected texts perform important cultural work via their complex problematizations of the ambivalence of said discourses, they also satirize and critique essentialist and ethnocentric discourses.