The Significance of Family in Maryse Conde’s, Segu

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“Dousika was a nobleman…the father of ten legitimate sons, ruling as patriarch over five families, his own and those of his younger brothers. His compound reflected his standing in Segu society” (Conde 42). In Maryse Conde’s, Segu, it is apparent that family is one of the most significant and outstanding themes in the tale. Through main characters like, Nya and Dousika, Conde does a great job of depicting the entirety of the family matters. Without establishing the implication of family there would not have been an authentic foundation to institute the latter controversies. The next theme of no lesser importance would have to be religion. “This new god, this Allah…was invincible. He would be like a sword. In his name the earth would run with blood, fire would crackle through the fields. Peaceful nations would take up arms” (42). In this tale religion also brings about one of the biggest issues. With both themes of family and the takes on religion represented by Dousika’s sons; one understands the obstruction and hardships that came about the Bambara capital of the Segu Kingdom. At the start of the tale, one sees the first significant implementation of family through Dousika’s first wife, Nya. Generally, women have an inferior role, yet Dousika respected Nya as a counterpart: “She was his first wife, to whom he had delegated part of his authority and who could therefore address him as equal” (5). It even mentions in the tale that Dousika’s admiration of Nya is like fear. A man’s fear of a woman in this time is extremely unusual, but because of the element of family; in this situation it is different. This reverence of Nya came majorly from her family background: “She’d been born a Kulibaly, related to the ancient ruling family of ... ... middle of paper ... ... believe in. Unfortunately, the refusal of the new religion commonly led to death. Even though, the subject matter of family and religion plays a huge role in the story, they wouldn’t have been as immense if other themes such as migration, labor, colonialism, and commerce weren’t offered as well. In Segu, Maryse Conde represents imperialist aggression and the European colonization of Africa through the tale of a kingdom. Through the pretense of Europe’s greed, and the religions of Christianity and Islam, came Segu’s downfall. What happens to the Bambara family in Segu is the depiction of the changing lives of Africans nationwide. How the people of Africa confronted the change is symbolized by the three sons of a compound ruler. Yet, in part from the misfortunes that are depicted, there lies an appealing story about religion, diversity, and culture in the motherland.

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