Cite this page as follows: "God's Bits of Wood - Chapters 10—12" eNotes Publishing Ed. The machine is the railway, but it is also the occupation of colonial powers. Faced with the struggle for survival, friends and relatives turn on one another, making cruelty and violence commonplace. Sounkaré walks from place to place, hoping to find someone who will let him eat. Full Book Notes and Study Guides Sites like SparkNotes with a God's Bits of Wood study guide or cliff notes.
Seeing the human effects of both the strike and its aftermath leads Bakayoko to the decision to stay home with his family rather than continue his travels. Emboldened by the verdict, the government took a more hardline stance: the strike was declared illegal and any workers who did not return immediately to their jobs would be considered to have resigned. All of them, caught up in this event, which is like no other in their experience as a people subjected to colonial rule, show their true mettle, whether it be indestructible or weak. In 1946 the Dakar-Niger Railway counted 478 European permanent workers, 1,729 African permanent workers, and 15,726 auxiliaries Cooper, p. The central conflict, which stems from the strike itself, serves to unify these often disparate characters, places, and narrative strands. Nevertheless, the person who shows imperfections always seems more believable than the one who appears to have risen above all human follies. The next morning, the women spread the news that Penda has returned from one of her many absences.
A large cast of characters plays out a complex interweaving of narrative and thematic lines in this fact-based novel. T h e story ends in the silence afterward with a lone voice singing about the virtues of protesting without hatred. Matuz, Roger, et al. View the Study Pack. The Africans succeeded in asserting themselves—they would have a voice in worker policies; French management succeeded in placing limits on that voice.
There is nostalgia for the old ways before the French occupied the territory, but also the acknowledgement that the railway brings about new opportunities for the people there. It was not until the arrival of independence in 1960 that Africans were free to express support for Marxist ideas. Cite this page as follows: "God's Bits of Wood - Summary" eNotes Publishing Ed. Soon, as their defiance of the French-owned railroad spreads along the line, the trains stop running. Labor Relations in Senegal History, Institutions and Perspectives. Freed from wartime censorship, authors from West and Equatorial Africa engaged in vigorous attacks on French colonial rule.
The second date is today's date — the date you are citing the material. The author is not concerned here with advancing Marxist ideology, but he does use some of its terminology to show the mental transformation of the African railway workers. Isnard hopes that flattering Doudou will help convince the secretary-general to take the bribe, remarking that he likes the black workers. The second date is today's date — the date you are citing the material. Such a phenomenon had its origins in négritude, an artistic movement of the 1930s through the 1950s in which Léopold Senghor, Aimé Césaire, Leon Damas, and others condemned foreign dominance. Scenes in Dakar introduce characters who are more sophisticated and morally ambiguous, such as Beaugosse, a good-looking young man whose dedication to the cause is compromised by a love of comfort and his condescension toward the common people.
Chapter 12: Thiès: Doudou As secretary-general of the strike, Doudou has grown disenchanted with his position in the strike that has lasted for forty days. Cite this page as follows: "God's Bits of Wood - The Characters" Literary Essentials: World Fiction Ed. Mortimer, Mildred, Journeys through the French African Novel. The citation above will include either 2 or 3 dates. See eNotes Ad-Free Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts. The Dakar-Niger Railway strike of 1947-48 The rise of African trade unions played a significant role in the strikes of the 1940s. They are inspired by a charismatic union leader called Bakayoko, who gives them the courage and strength to resist colonial oppression.
Next to a grease pit, he sees the two rats who had escaped earlier that day. Chapters 10, 11 and His negotiations are futile, however, largely because he is unable to control his temper, so the women take matters into their own hands, planning a 60 km march. Later on, however, the workers' racial and national consciousness develops to the extent that the strike becomes a struggle not just for better pay and conditions but for Senegalese and African freedom from colonialism. Mid-1950s statistics on Wolof men in Thies with one to three wives testify to a monogomous majority: close to half the laborers were married, most to a single spouse. So also, she was mortified by different ladies when they disparaged her for wearing a brassiere. Ousmane uses the specific, historical incident of the 1947 railroad strike as a window into the broader legacy of French colonialism. A large cast of characters plays out a complex interweaving of narrative and thematic lines in this fact-based novel.
Penda becomes more involved in the union office, gaining the respect of the men while refusing to be mistreated. Thus, strikes which take place in these three different location contribute and form the basic structure of the whole story. He unfortunately meets Isnard, the white supervisor of the repair shops in which Doudou had been a lathe operator before the strike began. Book Review Digest 1962. The second date is today's date — the date you are citing the material.