Death at the Border : Making and Unmaking the Migrating Body
This essay explores Marie NDiaye’s novel Trois Femmes Puissantes about the trials of three loosely connected women, who reveal the traffic links between France and Senegal. Set apart from other critiques of the novel, this paper focuses on the last “strong woman” of the triptych—Khady Demba—as an allegorical figure of today’s African migrants pushed out of a homeland that refuses to provide for them and toward perilous journeys. NDiaye highlights the interconnectedness of the material and metaphoric/ideational in apprehending the border. She does this through a play on the abstract—literalizing metaphors and the figurative to highlight the way language and the ideational intersect with and even affect and shape the material. In doing so, she draws attention to the categories in which the world is represented and to the way these conventions shape social reality.