Conflit de classes dans Germinal et Les bouts de bois de Dieu de Sembene Ousmane


This is a study of two novels, namely, Germinal (1885) by Emile Zola and Les bouts de bois de Dieu (1960) by Ousmane Sembène.  Both belong to different historical periods and yet have a common important theme, class conflict – a notion that we find real, pervasive in capitalist societies and still relevant in our world today. The study establishes a relationship between class and vision or ideology.  It reposes on the Marxist theory that the world view of any given society is manifested in many ways including the medium of creative art.  The writer, as a member of the society, unconsciously mirrors that dominant vision of his time in his work. The study also dwells at length on the role of commitment in the writers’ approach to social issues.  This assertion explains why we have explored the social, historical underpinnings of the works in question. By their portrayal of class conflict as an indispensable tool in redressing social wrongs and ensuring social advancement, the study argues that the two writers are greatly influenced by Marxist ideology in their works. We have amply demonstrated this through a dialectical contrast of characters, space, time, and style. Differences in attitude and style have been highlighted and illustrated through the analysis of principal characters.  The study concludes that, while underscoring the need for social justice that cuts across race and gender, the two novelists were unanimous in denouncing all forms of domination as unjustifiable.

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