Deleger, Ouafaa

  • Ouafaa Deleger
  • Department of French, Rutgers University
  • Abstract Title: The piano as a cultural passage: Le piano Oriental, Z. Abirached

Abstract: In her graphic novel, Abirached uses the piano as a bridge for dialogue. She alternates the story of her own relationship with French and Arabic languages with her great-grand-father story who spent his life trying to make an occidental instrument (the piano) generate oriental music without changing its physical aspect. This paper will analyze Abirached’s view on how languages merge into one to reflect who we are. Echoing the notion of Khatibi’s “bi-langue,” the piano becomes the physical link. By changing the sound of a quarter of a pitch with his foot when he plays, the great-grand-father allowed an exchange where each language is interlaced with the other one to create a new one. Therefore, the instrument symbolizes the cultural passage. This passage refers not only to a maritime metaphor with a back and forth between two continents, but also to the difficulty to understand the weaving between the Self and the Other. It emphasizes a reflexion on an invisible border that is in flux and has an effect on identities to the point of altering them. The piano characterizes the flexibility and the sensitivity of humanism which I situate at the center of this analysis. I will examine the passage first through the artificial aspect of cartography and the problematic of being sedentary, and finally through the inherent multiplicity in the “bi-langue” which underlines the intrinsic heterogeneity of the being.


Bio: Ouafaa Deleger is currently a third-year Ph.D. student in the French Department at Rutgers University. She grew up in Paris where she studied law and graduated with a Master from the University of Paris XII. Taking advantage of an expatriation in Louisiana, she also holds a Masters in Political Science from the University of New Orleans where she focused in her thesis on the Emancipation of Muslim women in Muslim societies. French culture is diverse and keep enriching French literature. For this reason, she is interested in studying the questions of language and identity through the lens of Maghrebian, African and Caribbean literature, but although through the lens of literature written by women in this part of the world.