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Segu a Novel by Maryse Conde Essay

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In the novel Segu, Maryse Conde beautifully constructs personal and in depth images of African history through the use of four main characters that depict the struggles and importance of family in what is now present day Mali. These four characters and also brothers, by the names of Tiekoro, Siga, Naba, and Malobali are faced with a world changing around their beloved city of Bambara with new customs of the Islamic religion and the developing ideas of European commerce and slave trade. These new expansions in Africa become stepping stones for the Troare brothers to face head on and they have brought both victory and heartache for them and their family. These four characters are centralized throughout this novel because they provide the reader with an inside account of what life is like during a time where traditional Africa begins to change due to the forceful injection of conquering settlers and religions. This creates a split between family members, a mixing of cultures, and the loss of one’s traditions in the Bambara society which is a reflection of the (WHAT ARE SOME CHANGES) changes that occur in societies across the world.
The novel immediately projects the fear and misunderstanding felt by the people of Bambara due to the unexpected early changes that are taking place in Africa. “A white man...There’s a white man on the bank of the Joliba” is exclaimed by Dousika’s pregnant wife Sira (Conde 5). The family is instantly struck with a curious mind but also one that is uneasy. The sight of this white man causes great despair already for the man of the house Dousika: “White men come and live in Segu among the Bambara? It seemed impossible, whether they were friends or enemies!”(Conde 10). The unexpected appearance of this white ...


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...buted to the downfall of certain empires and traditions. In Segu, these historical events affected this family greatly in both positive and negative ways. The interest that Tiekoro took in the Islamic religion directly affected the other three brothers to be intertwined with a new religion, trade, or slavery. For these four brothers the quick expansion of Islam and trade lead them astray from their home and heart. One sequence of events directly contributed to the fate of his siblings but perhaps this “[m]isfortune is like a child in its mother’s womb: nothing can stop it being born. It grows invisibly stronger and stronger; its network of veins and arteries develops. Then one day it appears in a deluge of uncleanness, water and blood” (Conde 66).



Works Cited

(2005, 04). Segu. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 04, 2005, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Segu-53064.html


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