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Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

First Advisor

Louise M. Jefferson


My dissertation consists of five chapters. The first chapter is the introduction. The second chapter deals with methodological issues. The third chapter is an analysis of L'Homme rompu. The fourth chapter is an analysis of La Nuit de l'erreur. The fifth chapter is the conclusion. In the first chapter, I introduce the author Tahar Ben Jelloun and his oeuvre. This chapter includes a survey of the scholarship that has already been generated in the field of Ben Jelloun studies. I also discuss my reasons for choosing L'Homme rompu and La Nuit de l'erreur as my primary texts. The second chapter concerns the theoretical and methodological framework grounding my analysis. Identifying the sociological undercurrent underlying my dissertation, the chapter includes a discussion of traditional Moroccan social structures and addresses the subordination of the female as well as the issue of power that is seen by feminists and by sociologists as central to the question of male-female relations. Arguing that an analysis of power may be employed to bring to light male-female relations in the chosen novels, I propose the analytical model delineated by Amy Allen in "Foucault on Power: A Theory for Feminists". My third and the fourth chapters are devoted to the analysis of each of the selected texts, L'Homme rompu and La Nuit de l'erreur respectively. Since male-female relations in the Arab-Islamic world cannot be dissociated from the question of the status of the female, I analyze the subordination/victimization of the female as well as the conflict between the male and the female that is folded in the narratives of these two texts. My analysis addresses the subordination/victimization of the female as well as her power. In the fifth and concluding chapter, I present some concluding remarks pertaining to the male-female power dynamic based on the analysis in the two preceding chapters. Synthesizing my analysis in terms of the narrative development within the novels, I discuss the consequences of the conflictual male-female dynamic on the male in particular. I argue that while the novels denounce the subordination/victimization of the female, Ben Jelloun's male protagonist also endures suffering and misery as a result of disharmonious male-female relations. I finally discuss the optimism that I surmise emerges in the conclusions of these two novels.

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