hst 225 gods bit of wood paper

hst 225 gods bit of wood paper - Kate Armstrong HST 225 Dr....

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Kate Armstrong HST 225 Dr. Olumwullah 24 April 2008 Female Assent to Power In Sembene Ousmane’s God’s Bits of Wood he tells a story of Africans struggling against colonialism for a better way of life in the 1940s. This is portrayed through the descriptions of a railroad strike that forces the Africans to stand up for themselves and to decide what roles they are willing to take and what is unacceptable. There is a particularly strong change in the roles of women, as they come to prominence in a time when their male counterparts are on strike. The novel illustrates a struggle against white colonialists who do not offer the same benefits of family pensions, salaries, and retirement opportunities to the Africans as the white people enjoy. The Africans voice concerns about their cultural traditions, such as polygamy holding them back from receiving the same benefits as the white people do. The struggles that take place due to the changing African atmosphere illustrate the new views and roles of African women by men, and the altered perception they have of themselves. Due to the fact that African men had numerous many wives, they were often overlooked, and disregarded as helpless and incapable of decision making (Ousmane 33). As the novel progresses, the women become aware of their new power and ability to take control of certain situations. As their husbands are on strike they are forced to take on new roles in their households, feeding their children and dealing with the colonial soldiers. Ultimately it is the
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Armstrong 2 women who march into Dakar and put an end to the strike, from this point onward the men realize “[they] will have to reckon with them in whatever [they] do” (Ousmane 228). It is apparent that African women were transformed as a result of colonialism. This is not to say that colonialism automatically liberated the African woman and elevated her to a role of supreme authority. Traditional female gender roles of the colonialists were enforced upon African women in the early stages. Women were often still forced to be subservient to their husbands, and to accept such customs as polygamy as a reality in their lives (July 599-600). In Ousmane’s novel we can see a society on the brink of transition when N’Deye Touti asks Bakayoko to take her as his second wife, and she states that she though the only reason he would say no is because he was “against polygamy” (224). The discussion progresses and she says that she never understood the custom either, but that she had decided it would be acceptable (224). This brings about the issue that African women felt the need to concede to traditional practices
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This note was uploaded on 05/01/2008 for the course HST 225 taught by Professor Prinsloo during the Spring '08 term at Miami University.

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hst 225 gods bit of wood paper - Kate Armstrong HST 225 Dr....

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