Voitenok, Katerine. “The Mother, the Son, and the Creation”. PhD, Boston College, 2016. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:106880.
This dissertation constitutes a systematic literary study of the image of the mother in Camus’s works. The study is twofold: it represents 1) a reconstruction of the story of the image of the mother through the analysis of the image’s manifestations and meanings and 2) a reading of Camus’s oeuvre through the lens of this image. In this dissertation, the image of the mother is approached as a unique entity that 1) has its distinctive parameters, inner logic, language, manifestations, and levels of meaning, 2) manifests a tendency to remain central, and 3) leads an uninterrupted existence throughout the entire oeuvre. The narrative unfolding of the image of the mother repeats Camus's progression through his project and shows an intimate connection to the problematics of the self and the expression of emotion. Paralleling the twists and turns of Camusian creation, the existence of the image of the mother in the texts remains dual: embodied and hidden. Hence, the analysis of the sequence of the image’s perceptible forms – i.e., the mothers who appear in different works, in particular the mother of “Entre oui et non” (L’Envers et L’Endroit), Mme Meursault (L’Etranger), the mother of Jan (Le Malentendu), Mme Rieux (La Peste), and Catherine Cormery (Le Premier Homme) – is supplemented by an account of the image’s less perceptible forms – i.e., veiled presences, echoes, traces, and avatars. The narrative is not only cumulative, it has a specific direction. As the story of the image of the mother unfolds, moving from text to text, from one manifestation to another, the image of the mother is gradually unveiled as a living symbol, the Mother-Christ – a figure of conciliation of the living and the symbolic and a point of convergence of the vertical and the horizontal.