Existentialism and identity in Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman (1964) and Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro (1969)
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This dissertation deals with existentialism and identity in two literary works of the 1960s: Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman (1964) and Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro (1969). We have attempted to demonstrate the possibility of analyzing these two works together from the perspective of Jean-Paul Sartre’s theory of Existentialism developed in his book: Being and Nothingness (1943). To begin with, we have seen how the mood and the main events of the sixties influenced and inspired the works of these two playwrights. We have also highlighted the impact of the socio-economic situation of that time on the Blacks i.e. the incidence of the inflation and consumerism combined with the feeling of racism and xenophobia of the whites toward the colored people. Moreover, we have endeavoured to define the way the 1960s were at the origin of existentialist problems and identity disturbances among the black community which underwent the prejudices of racism and segregation. These prejudices are clearly seen in the Blacks’ rejection of their identity as Afro-Americans and adoption of the whites’ ideals in an attempt to be integrated in the society as full citizens.
- Département d'Anglais