Implying Theme Through Characterization: An Analysis of Ousmane’s Intent in Tribal Scars In today’s society, tribal scars are a major part of the African cultures and traditions. These scars are viewed as a sign of beauty. In “Tribal Scars”, the thematic focus that Sembene Ousmane is implying-as evidenced by his characterization of Amoo-that one’s can love protect others from harm. The first indication, is Amoo’s over-protection of his daughter Iome. Secondly, Ousmane shows how Amoo will do anything in order to ensure the safety of his daughter.
Amoo makes sure that his eyes are always on Iome. For example, in this part of the story, Amoo finishes his desperate search for his daughter Iome. Amoo and Iome are walking with Momutu and his troops, while Amoo is looking for a place to rest. While Iome is resting, Momutu comes to Amoo saying, “She’s a strong girl. ” Then says, “We’ll have a rest and wait here for them. They’re bound to come this way. ” Ousmane has Amoo more cautious than before about Momutu. He describes Amoo’s actions by saying, “He nodded, but kept his eyes on Iome in between working at the piece of wood” (110).
Ousmane shows how much Amoo really loves and cares for Iome. The qualities shown by Amoo’s actions are love and care. Ousmane seems to be implying, one’s affection guards from attack. Amoo can not take his eyes off Iome for one second. Another example, takes places when Amoo and Iome returns to their village, escaping from Momutu and his troops. The villagers continue on with their work with no apprehension. At the same time, they stay prepared and always on alert. Ousmane then says, “Amoo shared his hut with Iome and always slept with a weapon” (113).
Ousmane shows how Amoo loves and protects Iome. The qualities being shown are love and caring. Ousmane is implying, one will defend what is cherished. Amoo makes sure that no harm comes to Iome. He assures her safety by sleeping with a weapon, so no one can get the chance to capture Iome at a vulnerable state. Ousmane wants readers to see the extent that Amoo will go to, for protection of daughter. Amoo will put his life on the forefront for his loved ones. For example, in this part of the story, Amoo, Iome, and his mother-in-law are fleeing from Momutu and his troops.
They are deep into the woods and his mother-in-law keeps stopping to catch her breath. Her leg is getting heavier as they go because she has elephantitis. Ousmane describes Amoo’s actions by saying, “Amoo helped her as best as he could, while Iome stuck to his side” (115). This is showing how loyal and loving Amoo is. The qualities being shown are loyalty and love. Ousmane is implying, attachment can influence one to linger. Amoo is making sure that his mother-in-law’s health is sufficient before moving on. Amoo makes sure that he will not leave them there by themselves.
Another example is, Momutu and his troops are starting to catch up with Amoo and his family. The mother-in-law can not make it further because of her disability. He also, makes sure Iome is not be captured by Momutu. Ousmane describes Amoo’s actions by saying, “Amoo gripped the girl between his strong legs and began making cuts all over her body” (116). This shows how love and determination can lead one to do the unexpected. The qualities being shown are love and loyalty. Ousmane is implying, one’s passion for someone can lead to unpredictable actions.
Amoo is making sure that his daughter is not going to be captured by Momutu and his troops. Even though, it crushes him to make cuts on Iome, he does it for her well-being. One can infer that one’s love for someone can lead to temporary pain and everlasting freedom. In conclusion, one can infer that Amoo has a strong love and caring for his daughter Iome. Also, one can infer that Amoo is selfless instead of selfish towards the one’s he love. Finally, at the end of the story it tells how Amoo determinately gains freedom for his daughter Iome and his mother-in-law.
He ensures Iome’s freedom by making cuts all over her body. He does this because slave catcher only abduct those without blemishes. Amoo places the well-being of others as more of an importance than himself. This can be said because he could have left them behind while running away from Momutu. But, Amoo stays by his family’s side the entire time and sacrifices his life for theirs. In “Tribal Scars”, Ousmane intends to depict that love and determination can lead to someone else’s happiness.