May 6

Gender Roles in Aya

Gender Roles in Aya~

Gender roles are present in different cultures and determine how males and females should act and think. Throughout the graphic novel, ‘Aya’ by Marguerite Abouet, the representation of men and women differs through their actions, interactions, and social expectations.

Females are represented in a wide variety of different ways throughout the graphic novel, which provides a wider spectrum of understanding of culture and prevents the creation of stereotypes against a specific gender. For example, the roles for females, which are consistent across many societies, is the idea that they must stay at home to care for their children and husband. However, one of the main characters, Aya, does not follow (or wish to follow) this belief. She can be seen telling her father that she wishes to be a doctor, and says “I don’t want to end up in the “C” series,” which is described as ‘combs, clothes, and chasing men’. On the other hand, the characters Adjoua and Bintou are quite open and enjoy spending their time partying- therefore not following the conservative ideals of the gender roles. This explains that despite the gender roles existing, many do not follow them, which shows a modernization in society and cultures. This can be further be supported by the pregnancy that Adjoua went through with, despite this proving that she was not pure or innocent. The fact that the father of the baby was thought to be Moussa, who was known for being rich, also created conflict between Bintou and Adjoua, as they were both fighting for the same man, and were interested in how well off they would be in life if they got married.

On the other hand, the representation of males throughout the graphic novel is not one which can be described as positive. There are no male figures that are not represented in a negative light. For example, Moussa is represented as overly jealous, such as when Bintou was talking to another man and he believed that he owned her. He is often seen taking advantage of his wealth to lure women towards him and does not realize that his actions can have negative consequences as he is blinded by his wealth. Aya’s father is also shown as being unfaithful, which can be seen when he left the house to go on a  business trip and stops his car along the road to talk to the girls he thought were pretty. Similarly, Adjoua’s father is not involved in the lives of his children, and rather, constantly drinks.

Through the comparative position between men and women in Post-colonial Ivory Coast, I believe that Abouet is trying to explain the fact that women, despite being oppressed by gender roles, continue to have open minds and want to live out their lives to the fullest, while men focus on themselves and wish to express their wants and desires without thinking of the consequences.

May 6

Men and women in AYA

The female characters in Aya

Aya – Adjoua – Bintou

The female characters in Aya are portrayed in two different ways. The two ways are seen in Aya and her friends. Aya is portrayed as a good and innocent girl who does not get into trouble. She strives to be a doctor, thought her parents specifically her father do not agree. This can be seen on page 22. At the begging of the graphic novel Aya’s parents want her to marry a rich man’s son and does not what her to be a doctor, suggesting that Aya is what parents wanted in their children at that time as she did not go out and party with men but was more conservative, however she did want to be a doctor. Aya strives to do what she wants and does not let anything get in her way. This causes tension with her friends who are very different to her. However, out of all of the female characters in this graphic novel Aya demonstrate second wave feminism the most with her wanting to become a doctor.

Aya’s friends Adjoua and Bintou are very similar as they have a very similar goal in life.  As seen on page 18, they want to own at a dress shop paid by their husband. This suggests that they do not want to strive for a higher education, they would rather work but not have to worry about money as they will marry a rich man. These two girls unlike Aya do go out and party, results in Adjoua getting pregnant. These girls are flirtier and spend more time out. In society they are not expected to do much and throughout the novel they do not seen to do much apart from party and hang out with each other. Like any friendship they do not always get one but do look out for each other.


The male characters in Aya

Ignace – “Mamabou” Afro man – Moussa 

In Aya the male character are portrayed from two different sides. Similar to the women, but this time it is seen in the different generations. The older generation (the parents) act differently to the younger generation (the children and young adults).

The older generation seen in Ignace and the other fathers want their daughter to get married and believe that they should do what they say and show them respect. When they do not they will use violence as punishment as seen on page 25 and 26. They are also very concerned with the reputation and do not want bad things said about the family. This is seen on age 82 when Moussa’s father suggests that Moussa and Adjoua get married as she is pregnant. finally, the older generation also carries more about money and want their children, especially their daughter to marry into money, this is seen on page 22.


The younger generation seen in Mamabou (afro man) and Moussa do not care as much about money or reputation. They are more interested in having fun and not worrying about responsibility. They act with a lot of freedom and when confronted with responsibility they cannot handle it well. This can be seen on page 60 and 61. Though similar to young females the fathers do seem to care what they do and make them own up and be punished for what they do. This is shown on page 72. They interact with the other characters freely within the book and do not seem scared of anyone, execpt may their own fathers.

What do you think Abouet is saying about the comparative position of men and women in Post-colonial Ivory Coast?

Over all I think that Abouet was making a comparison between the men and women and their position in Post-colonial Ivory Coast as not even, with the women still being judged for what they do more than men, however based on the different ways that the men act the mind set seems to be changing with the new generation as they do not seen to care as much about money or reputation. The younger women also seem to want more (as seen in Aya), though some still are happy to depend on a man. All of this suggests that Abouet was making a comparison of not only the difference in men and women, but the difference in the different generations.


March 7

Catholic Influence in Columbia

The Church

-present everywhere and rarely questioned
-formal actions greatly important
-attendance at mass high, more serious among women than men- church attendance attested to womans virtue
-primary rites such as baptism, communion, marriage, and extreme unction marked the main turning points in life, identified you as a social being
-Part of everyones cultural heritage passed on like language

Class Influence

-members of upper class had close personal relations with members of religious hierarchy
-in the rural villages, they were more devout but their catholicism was different than those in cities- fused with practices of indigenous, African, and Spanish
rural villages more careful to fulfill religious obligations to protect themselves from supernatural punishment
-Virgin Mary and Saints were deeply revered, said to be more accessible than God and could intervene in ones temporal affairs

Social Influence

-church exercised considerable influence in many areas including education, social welfare, and union organization
-control over education in Columbia was strongest in Latin America and even greater than the officials suggested
-Center for Research and Popular Education organized by church and staffed by diocesan priests
-Colombian Charity and Communal Action set up by church for  social welfare



March 7

Oligarchy in Colombia in the 20th century 

Oligarchy: A form of government in which all power is vested in a few people or dominant classes/cliques.

          In the 19th century, the landowning elite used its land to start developing agriculture and cattle ranch businesses. The economy stayed small and undeveloped, with very low levels of export which focused around gold. At the beginning of 1850, tobacco and coffee exports helped create a class of merchants. However, this slight economic boom disproportionately benefited those who were part of the economic elite- landowners and commercial dealers. All of Colombia’s coffee was grown on small farms, while the industry was lead by the wealthy elite distributors who controlled the sale and export of the crops.

As Colombia’s economy grew and began to modernize in the 20th century, the old landowning class joined forces with the commercial class created by the economic boom due to coffee exports.

Colombia’s elite has always been made up of predominantly of Colombian nationals unlike other Latin American countries, where the export industries were largely foreign-owned. The country’s economic and political elites have a large influence over political power.

In Colombia, the political life consists of an unending clash between Liberal and Conservative interests. Both represented the interests of the elite. Broadly speaking, Conservatives defended the Church and were closer to the landowning class, while Liberals favored a secular state and were closer to the commercial class. The Liberals and Conservatives fought a series of bloody civil wars from the mid-19th century, as the elites battled each other for the spoils of government via peasant farmers recruited into the militia of their local party boss. Clashes between supporters of the two parties were particularly fierce from 1930, after the Conservatives lost grip of a 45-year hold on power. This political fighting was accompanied by unrest in the countryside over unequal land distribution, and violent repression of collective action, most notably with the army’s massacre of hundreds of striking banana workers near Santa Marta in 1928.

The most extreme period of this conflict (lasting from 1948 to 1957) is believed to have resulted in at least 200,000 deaths and has become known as la violencia. This occurred mainly due to the unresolved crisis of land distribution- there were mass numbers of people displaced, as armed groups took those against them from their land and other landowners took advantage of the fighting to take land for themselves.

Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, a Liberal politician, rose to national popularity after presenting powerful speeches that rallied against Colombia’s “oligarchy”. He accused the two parties of taking over the political system for their own needs and doing what they could to prevent real reform. Gaitán gained popularity all over the nation, particularly with the peasants and the urban working class, as he promised land redistribution and an end to the power of oligarchy. However, violence erupted throughout the whole country in April 1948 after he was assassinated in broad daylight on a street of the capital, Bogotá. The violence continued to escalate, with extreme brutality from both sides, during the regimes of two successive dictators (Laureano Gómez 1950-53, Gustavo Rojas Pinilla 1953-57), until a military junta took power on an interim basis in 1957.

As the violence continued, the two political sides of the elite saw that the turmoil in the countryside would threaten their positions. Therefore, the parties joined forces to support a military coup in 1953 against Conservative President Laureano Gómez, to replace him with General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, who promised to end La Violencia. This period was followed by one in which the Liberals and Conservatives agreed to collaborate to form the National Front government in 1958, which stated that the parties would take turns holding the presidency and would share all the government jobs equally between them for the next 16 years.

The next decades of power sharing, which excluded every other movement and gave an advantage to the elite fueled Colombian rebel groups. They made guerrilla groups scattered across the country, changing the conflict in Colombia from the Liberal-Conservative one, to a class war between the government and communist guerrilla groups. A number of guerrilla groups joined forces, to fight Colombia’s elite.

  1. The first called themselves the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, (fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia or FARC).They were Marxist and pro-Soviet, and many of those who joined were peasant groups who fought during la violencia.
  2. The second was made up of middle-class citizens who were closely aligned to Fidel Castro’s Cuba, and called themselves The National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional — ELN).
  3. The Popular Liberation Army (Ejército Popular de Liberación — EPL), was Maoist (following Mao Zedong) group based on peasant fighters.
  4. The 19th of April Movement (Movimiento 19 de Abril — M-19), an urban guerrilla that carried out high-profile actions to attract students and other disaffected youth.

Organized crime began to spike in this era, due to the lack of government presence in the country. For example, failure to distribute land forced people to colonize remote areas of Colombia where illegal crops were the only way to make a living- such a marijuana and poppy. Illegal drugs created regional economic booms in the 1970s and 1980s, kick-starting certain industries, such as construction, bringing a flood of illicit dollars into the country, and creating massive wealth for some of those involved in the industry.


March 7

Gabo’s early life

Early life:

  • Born on March 6, 1927 in Aracataca, Colombia to Luisa Santiaga Márquez and Gabriel Elijio García.
  • He was raised by his maternal grandparents until he was eight.
  • He was sent to a boarding school where he developed into a studious student. He loved to draw comics though he was not much into athletics.
  • He earned a scholarship to study at the Jesuit Liceo Nacional secondary school when he was 14, and graduated in 1946.
  • The oldest child in a big family and was particularly close to his grandfather who was retired from the army and eventually inspired the novel “No One Writes to the Colonel.”
  • He studied law at the National University in Bogota
  • During the late 1940s the University he was studying at shut down because of violent behaviour and political protests in the country and Marquez moved to the University of Cartagena
  • He absolutely hated legal studies and he never finished his degree

Below: Mid 1940s and 1929

Image result for gabriel garcia marquez childhood  Related image


  • First novel: “Leaf Storm.”
  • He published essays about his travels in communist eastern Europe.
  • worked for El Espectador (controversial as it was founded by Fidel Castro)
  • He’s lived in France, Columbia, Cuba, Spain, Mexico
  • Two years before his death Garcia Marquez’s editor says he is working on a new novel, titled “We’ll See Each Other in August.” A younger brother, Jaime, says that the author is suffering from dementia and can no longer write.
March 7

Influence of The Church in Columbia

The role of the church was of utmost importance in Columbia, with mass attendance being high. Patrons who attended mass mostly consisted of women, as church attendance was considered when judging a woman’s virtue. Religion was not questioned and it was almost an unspoken rule to follow catholicism. More than 85% of the population attended masses. One was identified as a social being by these “turning points” in their religions i.e. Baptism, marriage. The Catholic faith was felt to be a part of a person’s cultural heritage passed on like language and became an integral part of a person’s being. Those in the middle and upper class had close relations to religious figures.

The lower classes were believed to be more religious as compared to the urban city dwellers, however, their Catholicism differed greatly. Fusion of Catholic practices and beliefs with indigenous, African, and sixteenth-century Spanish ones was widespread in the countryside. Most from the Rural side felt determined to fulfill their religious duties in hopes to protect themselves from supernatural punishments or to gain blessings from a Saint. One’s Saint was considered more helpful and present than God.

Religious celebrations were seen not only important to the believer, but they were also considered important social events that would bring the community together. Critics in the church however contended that religion was not something that brought character to a person.Critics of the Church, however, believed that such celebrations distracted from serious deficiencies in the exercise of that faith.

March 1

Social Class structure in Colombia in the 20th century

There have always been marked distinctions of social class in Colombia, although twentieth-century economic development has increased social mobility to some extent. Colombians tended to be extremely status-conscious, and class membership was an important aspect of social life because it regulated the interaction of groups and individuals.

Classes distinguished by:

  1. Occupation
  2. Family
  3. Lifestyle
  4. Power
  5. Education
  6. Wealth
  7. Social status
  8. Race
  • Were very influenced by the Arab culture.
  • The arab culture was prominent because of trade and expensive agricultural products
  • Egypt was thought to be the most popular destination in that era.
  • We observe this in the story through names and arabic terms (ie: Naser)
  • The spanish language is heavily influenced by the arabs. It has Arabic roots.


The Colombian upper class largely consists of a wealthy white elite, some of whom trace their lineage to the aristocracy of the colonial era. The wealth of this privileged group is based mainly on the ownership of land and property. They were very successful in maintaining exclusiveness. The upper class also includes some people who accumulated wealth more recently, through commercial and entrepreneurial activities. The middle class grew as a result of industrialization and economic diversification in the 20th century. Historically, the middle class was small and politically passive, made up largely of those who had fallen from the aristocracy through loss of wealth and property. The newly rich people were not accepted in society as they were thought to be uncultured and uncultivated. 


It had developed since the 1920s. As a class, the various middle groups distinguished themselves from other members of society by regular employment in occupations that generally did not qualify them for membership in the elite. The members of the upper middle class tended to share a concern for culture and outward appearance, exhibited by conspicuous consumption. The middle class grew as a result of industrialization and economic diversification in the 20th century. Historically, the middle class was small and politically passive, made up largely of those who had fallen from the aristocracy through loss of wealth and property. During the 20th century, however, the middle class grew to include people who rose from the lower class by bettering themselves economically, including small-business owners, merchants, professionals, bureaucrats and government workers, professors and teachers, and white-collar workers.


Them and the masses together constituted the largest sector of rural and urban society–about 75 percent. The line between the lower class and the masses was fine; it was based more on an increased awareness of the social, economic, and political systems among members of the lower class than on any other criterion. Those at the upper levels of the lower class–organized labor, small farmers, merchants, and some white-collar workers– were in a transitional stage and possessed some attributes of middle-class status. The greatest portion of the population consists of the politically powerless lower class. Its members are poorly educated and do not have adequate housing, health care, or sanitation. Those who have jobs are low-paid manual laborers. Few of the benefits of economic growth have reached the poor. Rural areas have an agricultural system in which the wealthy elite owns estates.

March 1

Gabriel Garcia Marquez Life Story

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  • Born on March 6 1927 in Aracataca, Colombia
  • His birth certificate were not issued in his village therefore, some sources say he was born on 1928)
  • On April 17th, 2014, in Mexico city, Mexico Gabriel García Márquez died of pneumonia. He was 87. He was the eldest of twelve children
  • He lived with his grandparents listening to family stories including his grandfather military stories.
  • Was a writer and journalist- would write about socialist and journalist and political novelist
  • Published his first story while in college
  • In 1982,  he became the first Colombian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature “for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the real are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts.”
  • Married to Mercedes Barcha from 1958-2014
  • Has two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo
  • Gabriel’s parent’s love story was so intriguing that
    Gabriel went on to write a novel about their courtship titled Love
    in the Time of Cholera. Gabriel’s father wooed his mother with serenades, love letters and poems and despite objection from his mother’s family they were eventually allowed to marry.
  • Despite attending school for law Gabriel earned his living as a journalist before his literary career took off.
  • Chronicle of a Death Fore
  • told (1981)
  • Gabriel was also a film critic and founded the Film Institute in Havana. He wrote several screenplays that were produced.
  • During his lifetime Gabriel lived all over the world, including in Cuba, Spain, Mexico, France, the United States, and Columbia. Fidel Castro even kept a mansion in Havana, Cuba, for Gabriel when he stayed there.
  • Gabriel was diagnosed with cancer in 1999. Treatment sent the cancer into remission and he began writing his memoirs.
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March 1

Gabriel García Márquez and his puzzling friendship with Fidel Castro

Gabriel Márguez and his friendship with Fidel Castro is very puzzling as Márguez did support Castro ideas however their relationship is not just Márguez supporting and producing propaganda in form of his novels. It is more of a workers friendship as Castro helped Márguez edit his books so that the grammar and facts were correct. The following quote explains Castro and his work on Márguez book:

Castro’s corrections were factual and grammatical rather than ideological, she added. “After reading his book The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, Fidel had told Gabo there was a mistake in the calculation of the speed of the boat. This led Gabo to ask him to read his manuscripts … Another example of a correction he made later on was in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, where Fidel pointed out an error in the specifications of a hunting rifle.” Elsewhere, Castro offered advice about the compatibility of bullets with guns used by García Márquez’s characters.

Castro and Márguez worked together on the final stage of editing his novels, which indicates even though Márguez did support his movement and ideas, their unusual friendship was not just about Castro ideals, it was also about Márguez and the things he was writing about and literature. The friendship was based on their love of literature and not political views. Which is not Castro was known for.

March 1

A Doll’s House – opinion on Nora Helmer

From Act 1 in A Doll’s House, we can deduce that Nora Helmer is a very child-like character. Her relationship with her husband, Torvald and her children portray these characteristics. For example, after Ms Linde and Dr Rank leave their home and the children come back, Nora’s whole mood changes. She is no longer being secretive and all her attention is with her children. Everything they say, she listens carefully and with excitement. Even some of the activities that could have been slightly dangerous for them are dismissed by Nora’s curiosity. Since she herself can be considered a child, it seems logical that she is focused on the adventurous side of her children’s stories rather than worrying like a mother-figure would. Furthermore, when Nora holds the baby just before she is to be put to bed, she almost refuses to give her back to the nurse. This suggests stubbornness and selfishness in the sense that she wants to keep the baby to herself as if it was her possession, her doll. When looking at the adaptation of this scene, it is noticed that her possessive actions towards the baby are not intimidating as Torvald’s need for control, but rather playful as Nora does not like the idea of sharing what is hers; a characteristic often seen in a child. Also the fact that she’s running around, screaming and laughing portrays strong childlike characteristics, as her actions exactly match those of the children. This is heightened when surrounded by her children, as she is then in a familiar environment; an environment where she has the freedom to act in this manner without society’s and Torvald’s expectations overwhelming her.

Nora Helmer is also very easily distracted and seems to use these distractions to sway away from uncomfortable situations or negative thoughts. An example is her decorating and chattering at the end of Act 1. Here she uses the Christmas tree as an excuse to busy herself so that she isn’t forced to face what she has done. In the scene, Torvald is confronting her about seeing Krogstad leave the house and instead of facing her husband, Nora hides behind her decorations. She isn’t confident enough to take responsibility for her actions (a trait also seen in her discussion with Krogstad about the forged signature) or to face whatever consequence or judgement she might receive for it. In this case it is simply the fact that she lied about Krogstad. However when looking at Nora’s character throughout the whole of Act 1, it is noticeable that Nora is quick to jump from conversation to conversation and her lack of focus often helps her dismiss unpleasant situations. The specific example of the decorating and chattering at the end of Act 1 also suggests she is very occupied with the appearance of their home; she feels obliged to uphold the ‘perfect’ family image.


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