God’s Bits of Wood is a novel written by Ousmane Sembène, which was first published in 1960. The novel is about a railroad strike in Senegal and its impact on the local people.
The main theme of the novel is the theme of colonization. The plot of the novel is set in the 1940s, which was still a long time before Senegal finally became independent.
Throughout the novel, the author explores the impact of colonization on the local people and the ways in which the indigenous people tried to deal with their colonial rulers. Therefore, the fact that the novel is set in Senegal is extremely important, as this provides the necessary historical background. In addition to that, it can also be assumed that it is not a coincidence that the novel was published in 1960; Senegal became independent on April 4th 1960. Therefore, through the novel’s setting of Senegal during the times of colonization, the author stresses the importance of Senegal’s newly achieved independence.
Also seen in the novel, the role of women slowly begins to change. Women step out of their conventional passive roles and become a lot more self-confident and involved. This could be interpreted as an analogy to the country of Senegal, which has finally become more self-confident and independent, too.
Furthermore, the story is not simply set in just one geographical location within Senegal, but across various areas, including Mali. This further underlines the author’s message that his novel is dealing with Senegal as a country, not just a particular area within the country. Therefore, his story is relevant to all citizens of Senegal, regardless of where they live.