Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-12-2019


This thesis examines the concept of parody through three novels, Friday or the Other Island, Vendredi ou la Vie Sauvage and Foe, rewriting Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. I focus more specifically on the character of the island as the metaphor of the process of rewriting, and I argue that the multiple rewrites shape an archipelago. I apply Linda Hutcheon’s critical work A Theory of Parody to show how the island’s paradoxical aspect illustrates the parody’s paradoxical aspect: it is constrained – the island is isolated and the parody is forced to follow a literary format or pattern, but not limited.

I study differences in the repetition, in the words of Gilles Deleuze, and I contend that the character of the island gains in significance in the parodies, gradually erasing the capitalist and colonial values of the first island. Particularly, I show that the parody, via the principle of inversion, empties the elements of their meaning and de-centers the original island. I demonstrate that the subversive aspect of parody blurs the boundaries between the hypotext and its hypertexts, and that the relative importance granted to the characters balances within the archipelago. Finally, I argue that authority in the archipelago is not about being settled and truthful but rather heterogeneous and fluid, constantly changing and balancing, in the same way than the relationship between Defoe’s Robinson and Friday is no longer defined according to a binary hierarchy but constantly evolves and repeats itself.


Parody, Island, Defoe, Robinson, Tournier, Coetzee

Document Type




Degree Name

Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Rajeshwari Vallury

Second Committee Member

Dr. Francis Higginson

Third Committee Member

Dr. Lorenzo Garcia, Jr.