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Learning About a Different Culture in Maryse Conde’s Segu Essay

Decent Essays
Maryse Conde’s novel Segu tells the vivid story of a family hurtled into the chaos of a rapidly changing world. Conde does a phenomenal job of putting readers into the mindset of her many colorful characters allowing readers access to thoughts and motivations behind these characters’ actions. The story is exceptionally intricate and yet the individual stories all feel interconnected back to the Traore family who are the focus point of the novel. Various themes all play a part in the telling of Segu. From religion to the transatlantic slave trade, from family to commerce, all these themes come together to form a story that ultimately spans cultures, continents, and centuries. This paper will be focusing on the themes of family and religion.…show more content…
Sira has the most interesting position among the main characters in that she is a stranger among the Traore family. This is a trait attributed to her by some members of the Traore family such as Dousika’s second wife, Nieli, and by herself. Even after successfully having a child fathered by Dousika, her odium towards him hardly seemed to wane. Drastically different are her relationship with other family members which appear to be unique and affectionate as is the case with Nya, Dousika’s first wife. Nya at first felt jealous and bitter of Dousika’s affections towards Sira, but came to pity and care for the woman who had no choice in her captivity. With the passage of time, Nya became ever more indifferent to Dousika and to his suffering. In her mind he had allowed the love that had once been between them to wither and die when he brought Sira into their compound. In the earlier chapters of the novel Dousika often wonders if Nya will overcome the bitterness she feels towards him, but at the same time seems to find himself somewhat disquieted when he contemplates what he has done to hurt their relationship.
The rapport between siblings of the Traore family is intriguing when compared to more Western cultures. The most interesting was the relationship between Tiekoro and Siga. The two brothers had been born the same day with only a few hours in-between them. However, Tiekoro’s mother was Nya, while Siga’s mother was a slave who later committed suicide by throwing herself
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