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Date

5-4-2020

Description

This project examines the concept of criminality in the life of Jean Genet, specifically his rejection of rehabilitation and refusal of marginalization. Additionally, this project will look into the criminality of Eugène Vidocq, who after years of being on the margins of society as a criminal, decided to accept rehabilitation and marginalization, unlike Genet who embraces the role of outcast through his full acceptance of the criminal. The abandoned child of a prostitute, Genet grew up in the streets, but he moved from crimes of necessity to a passion for crime. In his work The Thief's Journal, which is semi-autobiographical, he relishes his life of crime and his experiences with imprisonment. Through crime he was able to rebel against the failings of French society. He aligns imprisonment with treachery, thievery, and homosexuality— all methods to him of breaking from societal oppression and hypocrisy. Jean Genet's life of crime becomes his way of embracing homosexuality; this then draws him further into criminality. This project will do a close reading of the thief's time in prison to examine how the relationship with his lover relies heavily on the criminality of that lover. It is a relationship that ensures he will return to his life of thievery. This project will then contrast the reasons behind Genet's rejection of rehabilitation with Vidocq's acceptance of rehabilitation. In the end, there cannot be rehabilitation for the thief Genet due to the love he has for himself.

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May 4th, 12:00 AM

Criminality in French Literature: An Examination of Acceptance and Rejection of Rehabilitation in the Works of Jean Genet and Eugène Vidocq

This project examines the concept of criminality in the life of Jean Genet, specifically his rejection of rehabilitation and refusal of marginalization. Additionally, this project will look into the criminality of Eugène Vidocq, who after years of being on the margins of society as a criminal, decided to accept rehabilitation and marginalization, unlike Genet who embraces the role of outcast through his full acceptance of the criminal. The abandoned child of a prostitute, Genet grew up in the streets, but he moved from crimes of necessity to a passion for crime. In his work The Thief's Journal, which is semi-autobiographical, he relishes his life of crime and his experiences with imprisonment. Through crime he was able to rebel against the failings of French society. He aligns imprisonment with treachery, thievery, and homosexuality— all methods to him of breaking from societal oppression and hypocrisy. Jean Genet's life of crime becomes his way of embracing homosexuality; this then draws him further into criminality. This project will do a close reading of the thief's time in prison to examine how the relationship with his lover relies heavily on the criminality of that lover. It is a relationship that ensures he will return to his life of thievery. This project will then contrast the reasons behind Genet's rejection of rehabilitation with Vidocq's acceptance of rehabilitation. In the end, there cannot be rehabilitation for the thief Genet due to the love he has for himself.