God’s Bits of Wood
Characters (by region)
Bakayoko- Bakayoko is the novel's central character, in spite of the fact that he doesn't actually appear in person until more than two thirds of the way through. Until his return to the Thies / Bamako / Dakar region, (Chapter 16), his presence is theoretical and inspirational rather than physical, his beliefs and actions defining choices for both pro- and anti- strikers, for both those who respect him and those who don't. In short, even while the narrative line is defined by the actions and circumstances of other characters, Bakayoko is a constant presence, undeniably a leader, and a profoundly complex human being, simultaneously idealistic and …show more content…
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. Many of the men originally oppose this women's march, but it is precisely this show of determination from those that the French had dismissed as "concubines" that makes clear the strikers' relentlessness. The women's march causes the French to understand the nature of the willpower that they are facing, and shortly after the French agree to the demands of the strikers.
Perhaps no female character better captures transformation of the African female than Penda. Penda is first introduced as an unmarried woman who breaks custom by having "periodic escapades" with men (Ousmane 137). But the experience of the strike turns what once was anger and stubborn independence to dedication and selfless communalism. Her strength of spirit leads the union officials to seek her out to be in charge of the line distributing rations to the striking families. Penda's firmness of purpose proves surprising and implacable to those that try to use her reputation for promiscuity against