Zur Darstellung der weißen Frau als Hauptfigur in ausgewählten Unterhaltungsromanen der Gegenwart mit Afrikabezug
Thesis (MA (Modern Foreign Languages))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.
The noticeable popularity of contemporary German novels set in Africa, as well as the many similarities between these novels, provided the cause for this investigation. Especially the large number of autobiographies, biographies, novels, television productions and films featuring a white female protagonist raised some questions regarding the cause of the popularity of this character. The aim of this thesis is to try and answer some of these questions based on a close analysis of two particular female characters in two contemporary German novels set in Africa. A short overview of the research done on popular fiction, colonial German literature and the history of the white woman in Africa in literature will be given. Theoretical points of departure involve a discussion of the aims and effects of popular fiction in general, as well as a look at how German colonial Fantasies, as found in colonial Literature, are being propagated by contemporary Literature set in Africa, specifically with regard to the representation of the white female Protagonist. Further theoretical background will be provided by a brief appraisal of Gender Studies and Postcolonial Studies. Furthermore, a considerable part of the research for this thesis involved the reading of several contemporary popular German novels. Ein Land, das Himmel heißt (2002) by Stefanie Gercke and Die weiße Jägerin (2005) by Rolf Ackermann were selected as prime examples for closer analysis. In this thesis the two female protagonists of the selected novels, Jill Court and Margarete Trappe, will be analysed in order to identify and interpret a pattern followed in the representation of the white female protagonist in Africa in general. A central aspect of the depiction of this protagonist is her ability to cross boundaries between stereotypical representations of both masculinity and femininity. Therefore, she is a versatile character, allowing a large number of readers to identify with her. However, her capacity to cross such boundaries is limited to a certain extent and she never oversteps the boundaries far enough in order to surpass her lover when it comes to strength, knowledge, and maturity. The conclusion of this study is that both the versatility and the limitations of this protagonist explain her immense popularity as a new literary stereotype.