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“Des voix refuseront de se taire”

Title: “Des voix refuseront de se taire”: Women’s Voices in Léonora Miano’s Contours du jours qui vient.
Name(s): Messay, Marda, author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Journal Article
Date Issued: 2019-12-31
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Inspired by the phenomenon of “child witches” in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Léonora Miano’s second novel, Contours du jour qui vient (2006), reveals the psychological and physical violence children accused of witchcraft experience and its detrimental consequences. This article examines the manner in which Musango, the protagonist of the novel, reconstitutes her fragmented sense of self and reestablishes relationships with others after surviving her mother’s violence and her banishment from home. After analyzing the extent of the damages Musango sustained within her own home and community, especially her trauma-induced mutism, I examine how an already fragile Musango witnesses the silencing of women in a human trafficking camp and in a community revivalist church. I show how this silencing engenders a resistance within Musango and sparks a desire to use her voice. Lastly, I study how this resistance is further cemented and refined by the women she meets in the second half of the novel. These women guide Musango in her transformation from a mute traumatized self to a self-assured vocal individual. Furthermore, these women show her the ability of women’s voices to not only transmit knowledge and values but to also change the community for the better. Ultimately, I demonstrate how Musango is able to affirm her self-worth, reconstruct her fragmented sense of self, establish a connection with others and become a guiding voice through her interactions with the women she meets in her journey to recovery.
Identifier: FSU_libsubv1_scholarship_submission_1578591465_04254cb6 (IID)
Publication Note: Selected essay from the Women In French International Conference 2018
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU
Is Part Of: Women in French Studies Special Conference Issue.

Choose the citation style.
Messay, M. (2019). “Des voix refuseront de se taire”: Women’s Voices in Léonora Miano’s Contours du jours qui vient. Women In French Studies Special Conference Issue. Retrieved from