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Children of the New World

How Assia Djebar's Novel Children of the New World (1962) Contributes to Our Knowledge of ***** Algerian Experience

Assia ***** novel ***** of the New *****, first published in 1962 (in French) despite its be*****g a work of fiction, contributes powerfully and in many important ways to our knowledge of the Algerian Experience. This ***** also powerfully describes the circumstances, and ***** high human cost, of the Algerian War for Independence in particular, which lasted for six years, taking place between late 1954 and late 1962.

***** action of Children ***** the ***** World (1962), however, instead takes place within just one day. In this brief period, moreover we are provided a vivid account of the lives ***** various characters inhabiting a small Algerian mountain *****wn, Blida, in 1956, two years into the Algerian ***** for Independence, and against French colonialism.

It is through Djebar's characters' interactions and interpersonal relationships that we come to better understand life during ***** war in Algeria at ***** time; the effects of the war upon its people, and ***** ***** psychological and human cost of forced regime change, and of war in general. Djebar shows her characters in the most trying of circumstances, and (as often happens in war and in life itself) the identities and natures of the book's heroes and villa*****s alike are continually surpr*****ing.

Djebar ********** Children of ***** New World (*****) with an account the death ***** ***** old woman, one of myriad civilian c*****ualties of ***** Algerian War. This woman is killed right outside her own house, standing in her courtyard, in fact, and is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when a str*****y bomb fragment falls on her. This powerful beginning of ***** novel foreshadows what will turn out to be one ***** ***** major themes: that of the enormous and *****ten gratuitous cost of *****: on an entire society and, by association, on all of *****ity.

Assia Djebar's Children of the New World (1962) is clearly a feminist *****s well an anti-colonial book, although never predictably, simplistically, or uncomplicatedly so. This *****, for example, features women and men of all types, i.e., a cross-section (********** a limited *****) ***** mids-1950's Algerian *****. The characters are, for example, an eclectic mix of feminist ***** traditional women; of scholarly men and men who ***** merchants; and of both supporters and opponents of Algerian independence.

Many times Djebar's characters' motives and actions are ironically surprising, which furt***** underscores ***** idea that, especially in a time of w*****r, neither others' appearances nor one's ***** assumptions about others are necessarily reliable. For instance, being a political radical, as Djebar demonstrates *****ly at one point, does not always make a man into a feminist ***** well; ********** a ***** who wears a veil is not necessarily less courageous, in her own moment of truth, than is one who wears western clothing.

And, although the majority ***** Djebar's female characters are symp*****hetic one, an ***** informant,


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