In What Ways Does Mariama Ba Use the Male Characters in Scarlet Song as an Influence on Ousmane’s Relationship with Mireille?

Topics: Marriage, Family, White people Pages: 3 (1109 words) Published: January 15, 2012
In Scarlet Song by Mariama Ba, the male protagonist Ousmane Gueye is greatly influenced by the various male characters throughout the book. Mariama Ba strategically places certain types of characters in Ousmane's life so that his character develops as the story progresses, as a way to keep the reader interested. However, Ousmane does not entirely become influenced by the characters but instead he comes to terms with what he understands is best for his situation. The various male influences differentiate from one another as some of them try to encourage and support his relationship with Mireille, while others do not. From the beginning of the book, Djibril Gueye, the father of Ousmane, shows his dedication towards his Muslim religion. This plays a major role in how he accepts the marriage of Ousmane and Mireille. Generally, his faith keeps Djibril’s character the same throughout the story which indicates the importance of religion and how much of an impact it makes in people’s lives. However, Ousmane does not tell his father about Mireille until after they are married because he believed that his father would not understand because “he was proud of [the] difference” (38) between their own people and white people. In fact, he had been oblivious to the whole relationship “even when Ousmane handed them gifts” (58) from her. When Ousmane reveals to his family the marriage, he decides to tell his father first because he is “more armed against suffering than Yaye Khady.” (64). Although Djibril was shocked and upset, he did not make it very apparent and instead he “was carrying on a monologue consistent with…his piety” (66) and said “’Since this woman has embraced Islam, we must simply accept her into the bosom of our family.’” (66). The fact that Mireille had become Muslim, “his faith made him accept the will of God without a murmur.” (69). Mariama Ba’s use of Djibril’s character is effective as it is an example of a person who has a close relationship with Ousmane, who...

Cited: Bâ, Mariama, and Dorothy S. Blair. Scarlet Song. Harlow: Longman, 2008. Print.
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