Why is the book titled God's Bits of Wood?

The book is titled God's Bits of Wood because the character Houdia M'Baye is described as bringing forth "nine bits of God's wood," a metaphor for her children. This metaphor upholds the Wolof practice of refraining from counting people.

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At first glance, it's not immediately apparent why Sembène Ousmane would choose such an unusual title for the book. However, the mystery is somewhat elucidated when the novel tells of how Houdia M’Baye brought "nine bits of God's wood" into the world. In other words, she has had nine children.

It is not entirely clear why Ousmane would choose to describe Houdia's children in this way. One could...

(The entire section contains 211 words.)

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