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Written by Siciu Magdalena
At the beginning of the novel, Samba goes to a temple situated on a mountain to complete his spiritual training. The mountain is an important place and is used here as a symbol that represents spiritual enlightenment.
The French schools
Many of the characters in the novel have a deep hatred for the French colonizers and do everything they can to keep themselves away from anything French. As a result, many people decide not to send their children to French schools. For those people, the schools are a symbol of French oppression and it remains a symbol until the end of the novel.
Samba tries to keep himself true to his heritage and to avoid everything that has to do with the french. As the novel progresses, however, the narrator keeps making excuses for his actions. Samba makes a habit out of this and his tendency of making excuses is used here as a common motif.
Symbol of rationalism
Samba spends a few years of his life in Paris and during that time he studies philosophy and different religious ideologies. The time Samba spent in Paris completely changed his perspective on life and as such Paris becomes used here as a symbol for rationalism.
The novel ends with Samba going to visit Thierno's grave. At that moment, Samba remembers all the things he used to believe in and why those things were important to him. Because of this, the grave is used here as a symbol of the link with the past.
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