In Sembene Ousmane's Gods Bits of Wood and Mariama Ba's Scarlet Song we see the use of personages as representatives of humanness and also the eventual display of the lack of it. For the purposes of this paper, humanness is explained as something in which empathy turns to be the basis for being human. Gods Bits of Wood boasts a broad peripheral view of one great movement for humanity to radically change and for the Africans as well as Europeans to accept each other as whole societies. Besides this, in Scarlet Song readers perceive a more focused and also personal version of the same try, in which the writer has created two personages characters in a dramatic romance plot to illustrate the struggle between their worlds. Both in Ousmane's as well as Ba's pieces, the apparent lack of tolerance in the personages from older generations repress and even annihilate the younger generation's try for humanness.
Surrounding the subject of lack of humanity, Ousmane pictures how human we can be and how inhuman too. The story illustrates the inhabitants in several areas in Senegal, in particular the African males and females on the Dakar-Niger railway in the late 1940's as well as their struggle to free themselves from being mistreated by the colonizers. Here, one observes the cruelty within the white western ideals of power over the folks of Africa, contrasting with the Muslim African black traditions of repression, sexism, control, ignorance and polygamy. Meanwhile, it’s all contradicted when Ousmane unveils their powerful unity as humans, supporting, having compassion and protecting their own kind.
In Gods Bits of Wood, Ad'jibid'ji happens to be the soul proof of a younger generation doing their best to display traces of humanness. When striving to learn the white man's language, French, she exudes openness of mind, curiosity, tolerance as well as other humane qualities. At the same time, by simply doing this, she defies her ancestors as well as traditions, and in response, gets a scolding from her grandmother Niakoro, who dislikes the fact that she speaks in Bambara, and get an answer in a language of savages. Of course, the anger is quite clear in this response, thus serving as a sort of messenger delivering to the audience the whole defensiveness and fear from part of the African world. Meeanwhile, Ad'jibid'ji's tries to learn French and reach out to the world of whites.
The termination of Ad'jibid'ji's try is created by the evident generational gap, since the same situation happens in Scarlet Song.
In Sembene Ousmane's Gods Bits of Wood and Mariama Ba's Scarlet Song we see the use of personages as representatives of humanness and also the eventual display of the lack of it. For the purposes of this paper, humanness is explained as something in which empathy turns to be the basis for being human.