An In-Between Identity: Azouz Begag in Shantytown Kid

Radi Mohamed


The main purpose of this study is to examine the double identity in Begag’s le Gone du Chaâba. Taken between two completely different cultures, the beur writer exploited the language to translate and transmit this duality. Le Gone du Chaâba is a 1986 novel by Azouz Begag, a French-born author of Algerian parentage, who offers an autobiographical glimpse of his childhood in and around Lyon. Set in the 1960’s, the novel presents Azouz navigating his experience between the slum where his family lives and the various French schools he attends. The text traces the issues of children of immigrants who essentially live between four language varieties: a cherished, formal Arabic, a version of Arabic or Berber spoken at home (rarely studied in written form), a “proper” French learned in school, and slang French spoken with friends. This study will explore the language issues as they appear in Begag’s le Gone du Chaâba, where they contribute to the process of identity formation for the child Azouz. In this novel the narrator presents himself as the voice of an individual who negotiates a place in an environment in the course of creation.


Identity, Immigrants, Beur Literature, Argot, School

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