Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis


Languages, Literatures and Cultures



First Advisor

Daniela P DiCecco


France, like many industrial powers in the Western hemisphere, has seen a rise in immigration in recent years, particularly from areas formerly under French colonial control. Globalization has certainly provided French society with many benefits as well as many challenges, particularly when regarding immigration and the role of immigrants in the host society. The products associated with this culture clash have become a common theme in contemporary art and literature, particularly among authors of non-French origin, a theme which has transcended both literary genre and intended audience.

This thesis examines four contemporary young adult and coming-of-age novels written by women of Caribbean and North African descent: Caraïbes sur Seine (1999) and Un papillon dans la cité (1992) by Gisèle Pineau, Kiffe kiffe demain (2004) by Faïza Guène, and Terminus nord (1992) by Malika Wagner. Each of the four novels studied for this thesis provides a different perspective on growing up in France, according to differing factors relating to background and family relationships. By studying the experiences of these "other" adolescent girls, one gains a better perspective of what it means to grow up female in France today. The goal of this thesis is to study the representation of female adolescence in global society as it is depicted in these novels and to respond to the following questions:

1. How is female adolescence portrayed in these novels?

2. What possible functions are served by the novels studied?

3. Are the messages transmitted (whether intentionally or unintentionally) different amongauthors of different backgrounds?

In order to respond to the above questions, this thesis examines such recurring themes in adolescent literature as: isolation and marginalization, family relationships, and the need for escape and the importance of education.


© 2011, Andrea Ruth Sell