She pensively examines the disintegration of both their marriages using introspection and striving to look backward with equanimity. It was also a time of newly-acquired independence in Senegal and the struggle to find a fresh societal model in a modern world. They were cutting edge feminists and the men they married were modern in their views. Ramatoulaye did not renounce her religion or customs and she still practiced many cultural traditions, yet she moved forward as a working mother and wife.
SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Feminism and Education.
The two are childhood friends, but their paths diverge in adulthood, as Aissatou immigrates to America, leaving Ramatoulaye behind in Senegal. The novel is told through the epistolary style—that is, it is structured as a very long letter, written by Ramatoulaye to her friend, recounting the latest events of her life while reminiscing on their shared childhood and adolescence.
Rama reflects on the pain she felt when Modou took another wife after 25 years of happy marriage. It is there she meets Modou, who is handsome and romantic. She chooses to marry him over a wealthier suitor her parents prefer, eschewing the traditional lavish wedding and customary dowry for a simple ceremony.
Though Mawdo is of a higher class than Aissatou, being the son of a princess, the two marry in defiance of caste traditions. Now married, the two friends experience the joys and discomforts of married life.
Rama and Aissatou work as teachers, fulfilled by their careers and their youthful love. She adopts a little girl whom she renames Nabou.
After years of patience, young Nabou grows into a beautiful young woman. Aunty Nabou offers her adopted daughter to her son, Mwado, and declares she will never recover if he refuses the proposal. Betrayed, Aissatou divorces Mwado and pursues her education with a vengeance, ultimately being appointed to the Senegalese Embassy in the U.
He chooses Binetou, a poor girl whose entire family will benefit from the match. He does not tell Rama of his plans until the day of the wedding, when he sends his best friend, his brother, and the local Imam to break the news.
Rama debates whether to leave Modou, but ultimately stays, to the horror of her children. Modou ignores his first family, focusing his attentions of Binetou. Rama takes on the work of running a household by herself, learning to fix leaks and pay bills. She entertains herself by talking with her twelve children and going to see shows and movies, but is deeply lonely.
She wonders if she will ever meet another man, but fears her many children and her lack of a true divorce would be impediments. She has forgiven him and now prays for him every day. Tasmir has three wives already, she reminds him, none of whom he can financially support. She refuses to marry him and Tasmir leaves, defeated.
Next, Rama is visited by Daouda Dieng, the suitor from her youth, now a married man. She writes a letter of explanation, telling Daouda that she also feels uncomfortable coming between him and her first wife, a pain she knows firsthand.
He never speaks to her again. Having heard that Aissatou will be coming back to Senegal to visit, Rama tells her friend about her children, some now adults themselves.
Rama muses on the perils of modern parenting, how she has allowed her girls to wear pants, travel freely, and have male friends. Yet, her oldest girls have taken up smoking and partying, and she wonders if she should have been less permissive. One daughter, named Aissatou, has just revealed she is pregnant by a young law student.
Though Rama is horrified by the out-of-wedlock pregnancy, she supports her daughter. Rama fumes at how Aissatou is expelled from school for getting pregnant, but boys never suffer such consequences. Determined not to let the same thing happen to her younger daughters, Rama educates them on sexual protection.
Will she be wearing pants? Will she insist on American furniture and utensils, like chairs and forks? Rama, for her part, will insist on keeping with tradition. She will spread out a traditional mat, and the two friends will sit and talk, just as they once did.
In So Long a Letter, author Mariama Ba grapples with changing social climates and the role women play in them, paying particularly attention to the ways in which education allows women to lift themselves up, while a lack of education leaves them stunted and with few options.LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in So Long a Letter, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Preston, Oliver. "So Long a Letter Chapter 1." LitCharts. LitCharts LLC, 30 Nov Web. 13 Sep Preston, Oliver. "So Long a Letter Chapter 1." LitCharts. LitCharts.
Mariama Bâ’s So Long a Letter When a person hears words like feminist or feminism, notions of what it means to be feminine, or consequently unfeminine, begin to dimly form in our mind’s eye. in the individual” (So Long a Letter 14).2 Moreover, ramatoulaye’s preoccupation with teeth, viewed directly or indirectly as signs of character, appears repeatedly .
8 Feminism as a Myth: A Study of Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter and Flora Nwapa’s One is Enough. By ECHEZONA E. IFEJIRIKA, (Ph.D) Anambra State University. LANGUAGE IN FEMINIST LITERATURE: A STUDY OF MARIAMA BA’S SO LONG A LETTER. CHAPTER ONE.
INTRODUCTION. Background of the Study. The struggle for women’ right began in the 18th century during the period of intense intellectual activity known as the Age of Enlightenment. As Ramatoulaye, the first-person narrator of So Long A Letter reflects, Africa is diverse: even within a single country there are changes in attitudes as one moves from north to south and east to west (42).