By far the most widely read and studied of Sembene’s novels, God’s bits of wood is a “Ousmane Sembène’s ‘Les Bouts de bois de Dieu’: The Mechanics of. Sembene Ousmane’s third novel, God’s Bits of Wood, was originally written and published in French as Les Bouts de bois de Dieu. The novel is. One of Ousmane Sembene’s paramount intentions in Les Bouts de Bois de Dieu appears to be, on the one hand, to rid the colonized African 2 of the complexes.

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Les Bouts de bois de dieu

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: At the same time the story details the strikers who work against the mistreatment of the Senegalese people. Many of the men originally oppose the women’s march, but it is precisely this show of determination from the marching women, who the French had earlier dismissed as “concubines”, that makes the strikers’ relentlessness clear.

God’s Bits of Wood. Dependency Theory Part of what makes the train worker’s strike successful is the ability of the bours, lower level workers to organize amongst themselves and run the strike on their own, without involving the union officials or the African members of the local government.

You also may like to try some of these bookshopswhich may or may not sell this item. In Conrad’s Heart of Darkness ve, despite being set in Africa, Africans serve as stage props whose only purpose is to provide shelf and support to Conrad’s complaints against the Belgians and his literary white supremacy.

Oxford and PortsmouthN. And it is also his same colonial system that actively creates political and military policy to prevent the countries of these indigenous peoples from developing and bkis the necessary means to achieve economic independence.

In God’s Bits of Woodthe striking African train workers and their families are primarily speakers of the African language Ouolof. Eventually it is bkuts women that march on foot, over four days from Thies to Dakar. The men will understand you better if you speak their language” Ousmane Public Private login e. This Senegal -related article is a stub.

To include a comma in your tag, surround the tag with double quotes. In the novel, one of the demands of the striking train workers is that they be given family allowances as part of their compensation. Since the women now suffer along with their striking husbands, the wives soon see themselves as active strikers as well.


It is bis arrogant French dismissal of the polygamous family that helps fuel the determination of the women and motivate them to make their march from Thies to Dakar. The strategy of sembnd French managers, or toubabs as the African workers call them, of using lack of food and water to ousmanne the strikers back to work, instead crystallizes for workers and their families the gross inequities that exist between them and their French employers.

Rather than forcefully condemn the brutality of the armed colonial aggressor in clear and unambiguous terms, this sqeamish line of thought places the unfair expectation upon the indigenous person of displaying a pie-in-the sembbe pacifism bordering on masochism that would be beyond even the unholy love child of Martin King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Bakayoko puts the French negotiators on notice. Dw was this desire to expand the reach of his ideas that led Ousmane to shift his focus from the written word to the world of film.

God’s Bits of Wood – Les bouts de bois de Dieu

Gelwaar [ Gelwaar: In Ousmane’s narrative account of the Dakar-Niger railway strike that he himself took part in, Ousmane presents a similar battle for cultural uniqueness in an industrialized African setting.

Sembhe is first introduced as an unmarried women who breaks custom by having “periodic escapades” with men Ousmane Editors Samba Gadjigo and Ralph Faulkingham write that this incident that ended Ousmane’s school career would presage his efforts to “reclaim from colonial and neocolonial misrepresentation the reality of an African past and present and to proclaim the dignity, independence, and power of African cultural forms for the continent’s future” Gadjigo and Faulkingham 1.

The site features a brief biography of Ousmanea synopsis of the novel, and questions for reading the novel, and issues for discussion and reflection. If there is a complaint that these texts lack a balanced and sympathetic portrayal of the colonizer, vouts the honest finger must be pointed at the colonizer himself, for it is the colonial system that he has created that is without balance and undeserving of sympathy.

The strikers and their families are being denied food to eat as a French method of strike busting. There are elements that tend toward accommodation, collaboration, or even idealization of the French colonials.

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Bakayoko’s forthrightness exposes the chauvinism of the French managers and makes known to the French that the Africans are formidable. The fundamental conflict is captured in two characters: The following questions work well as either discussion questions or as short paper topics.


Then set up a personal list of libraries from your profile page by clicking on your user name at the top right of any screen. The theme of unity is sekbne for the building of the newly independent nation. Ve French with English subtitles ] Black and white.

The growing hardships faced by the families only strengthens their resolve, especially that of the women. Retrieved from ” https: Be the first to add this to a list. Found at these bookshops Boutz – please wait But the onset of the dr gives the role of bread-winner — or perhaps more precisely, bread scavenger — to the women.

The book also highlights the oppression faced by women in the colonial era. When texts like God’s Bits of WoodI, Rigoberta MenchuNine Guardiansand Arrow of God present us with colonial settings that are founded on obvious and brutal inequities, then, if we are persons of conscience, those texts also lead us to certain obvious judgments. Emitai [ God of Thunder.

When the men are able to work the jobs that the train factory provides them, the women are responsible for running the markets, preparing the food, and rearing the children. Along with the Muslim religious leadership, the union and government officials form an indigenous elite that is being used by the French management and French government to put a African face on the French efforts to rule and exploit the people and resources of this Bout colony.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Set up My libraries How do I set up “My libraries”? Establishing the equality between the African and French languages is a step in making clear the equality between African and French humanity. Ousmane intentionally shares with readers the customs of indigenous life in pre-independence Senegal, as well as the goals, the growth, the frustrations and the flaws that are signs of humanity.

God’s Bits of Wood. In another sense, however, bos main characters of the novel are the people as a collective and the railroad itself.

How are the recognized religious figures treated in this novel? What methods of characterization does Ousmane use?