black studies final essay

black studies final essay - Madison Jesseman 5-26-11 Black...

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Madison Jesseman 5-26-11 Black Studies 130 Houseboy In the book Houseboy, by Ferdinand Oyono, the harsh life of an African boy from Spanish Guinea named Toundi is looked at. Toundi’s life throughout the story is much like a roller coaster; he goes from a bad experience to a good experience, back to a bad one, then to even worse ones. One cannot help but feel bad for the boy, but Toundi is very persistent and as he matures he learns much about life. Throughout this fictional story, the author uses Toundi as an embodiment of many of the common themes that Africans faced during the hard times of French colonization. There are obvious themes such as religion and exploitation, but there are also themes of French feminist superiority and a change in the Africans’ perspective of the colonials. The first theme witnessed, was that of religion. When Toundi runs away from home after being abused every day, he lives with Father Gilbert and his life immediately starts improving. He learns to read and write, but more importantly he is no longer beaten. Father Gilbert teaches him about Catholicism, which he accepts as his religion right away. In the book “French Colonialism in Africa,” it discusses the controversy of the French converting Africans to Catholics. It is stated that even though Catholicism teaches about equality and not harming your fellow man, the French still mistreated Africans as if they were less than man. However, those who would refuse the teachings of Catholicism were severely punished and looked at as trash in the eyes of the colonials (p. 335). This must have been very confusing to Africans, being forced to learn about the value of peace and then forced to submit to the will of the French. As the story
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progresses, Father Gilbert dies and Toundi ends up living elsewhere. Throughout the book, references are made about god’s role in guiding Toundi through life. “Father Gilbert believes it was the Holy Spirit that led me to him” (p.9). However, his life starts becoming worse and worse after the death of Father Gilbert, and Toundi is seen losing his faith in god with every misfortune he falls victim to. He was led to believe god was leading him in the right direction, but then feels dissonance when nothing gets better. This goes on until the end, when he gives up religion completely and dies (his actual death is at the beginning of the book). Was the reason he died because he gave up religion and god left his side? Had god guided him through all the harsh times and yet kept him alive because he still had faith? Or was it simply his time to die and he was right
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black studies final essay - Madison Jesseman 5-26-11 Black...

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