In The Maim of the Father: The Discourse of Disability in French-Maghrebi Immigrant Texts


  • Madelaine Hron



immigration, Maghrebi, North Africa, French literature, labor, disfigurement, fathers


This paper explores the "enfreakment" of the father in French-Maghrebian immigrant literature. The father, or the first-generation North African immigrant to France, is routinely depicted as disabled in literary texts. I account for various economic, medical, socio-cultural, and literary reasons for the figurative maim of the father and I examine the possibilities and limits of this disabled position. On one hand, disability seemingly enabled some first-generation immigrant workers, granting them voice and agency in the public forum. On other hand, in immigrant literature, this discourse of disability engenders a freakish form of identity politics; certain second-generation immigrant texts reify and re-appropriate the maim of the father, so as to further disable, and thus enable, the immigrant subject.