Essay - Children of the New World How Assia Djebar's Novel Children...


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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 the Algerian Experience

Assia ***** novel Children ***** the New World, first published in 1962 (in French) despite its being a work of fiction, contributes powerfully and in many important ways to our knowledge of the Algerian Experience. This novel also powerfully describes the circumstances, and the 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 of ***** ***** 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 War for Independence, and against French colonialism.

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

Djebar begins Children of ***** New World (1962) with an account the death of an 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 ***** at ***** wrong time when a stray bomb fragment falls on *****. This powerful beginning of the novel foreshadows what will turn out to be ***** ***** ***** major themes: ***** of the enormous ***** often gratuitous cost of war: on an entire society *****d, by association, on all of *****ity.

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

Many times Djebar's characters' motives and actions are ironically surprising, which fur*****r underscores the idea that, especially in a time of *****, neither others' appearances nor one's own 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 as well; and a wo***** who wears a veil is ***** necessarily less courageous, in her own moment ***** truth, than is one who ***** western clothing.

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

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