gods bits of wood Essay

1050 Words5 Pages
The evolution of the strike causes an evolution in the self-perceptions of the Africans themselves, one that is most noticeable in the women of Bamako, Thies, and Dakar. These women go from seemingly standing behind the men in their lives, to walking alongside them and eventually marching ahead of them. 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. But the onset of the strike gives the role of bread-winner-or perhaps more precisely bread scavenger-to the women. Women go from supporting the strike to participating in the strike. Eventually it is the women that march on foot, over four days from Thies to Dakar.…show more content…
Even though Penda is later killed in a fourth clash between the African women and the armed French forces, her example and resolve encourages the woman to complete their march to Dakar.

The Rule of the Machine
As the strike begins to take effect, the striking workers, particularly Bakayoko, come realize how industrialization and the machine have changed their lives.
While the men can recall their elders telling them of a time "when Africa was just a garden for food" the stoppage of the machine makes them "conscious of their strength, but conscious also of their dependence" (Ousmane 32). Had they lived in the Africa that existed before the coming of the French, the men and women of the strike could have fed themselves from the natural abundance of Africa.
But beyond making the families dependent on the machine and its masters for food, the machine has also forced the men to rely upon the machine for their sense of purpose. Without the sound of the factory and the schedule of maintaining the train, the men feel a temporary emptiness.

In God's Bits of Wood, the striking African train workers and their families are primarily speakers of the African language Ouolof. As a result, learning French is not necessary in their struggle to organize amongst themselves

As the strike progresses, the French management decides to "starve out" the striking workers by cutting off local access to water and applying pressure on local
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