After 30 years of marriage, how do you redefine yourself, as a widow, a mother, a woman? In Une si longue lettre, Bâ sketches a portrait of two female friends at the dawn of Senegalese independence, for whom the heady days of idealism and progress in the 1960s are disrupted forever when their husbands both decide to take second wives. Ramatoulaye is deeply offended by his crass proposal, and tells him off in front of Mawdo and the Imam. Hers is not a campaigning, revolutionary stance that calls the brave minority of islamic women to the barricades but rather one that empathises with the position of the vast majority who decide to accept the traditions, concentrating on the positives and on the raising of their children, despite the negatives and chip slowly away at the cruelties by showing more kindness and understanding to their offspring. Should our rejoicing have been so unshadowed? She is a champion of education believing it to be the only tool for a woman for absolute liberation. Even in their days of energetic youthful idealism, the two friends realize intellectually this difficulty, but the full emotional understanding doesn't come until they have experienced the desertion of their collaborators and the sustained difficulty of living their lives with one foot in the past and the other in the future. It does a disservice to literature to treat with it as a fill-in-the-blank, rather than a living entity that existed long before you and will continue long after you're gone.
Mariama Ba's So Long A Letter is story that dives deeply into the struggles of being a woman in a society that has no thoughts for your pain. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Ramatoulaye, our heroine, recounts her struggles, and seems to gain strength as the novel-time progresses. The British colonialists preferred to use the emirate system to subjugate our people because it fitted with the administrative logic of colonial government. Although Ramatoulaye is estranged from Modou, she receives the news of his death with the solemnity, awe, and devotion that her faith demands, and with the grief of a loving spouse.
Ramatoulaye wrote of how his neglect for her feeling and the feeling of their children almost destroyed their lives. However, he also harbors an extreme selfishness, taking on a second wife even when it dreadfully hurt his first one. So Long A Letter is an autobiographical novella, in which Ba professes her desire to see equality amongst all people come to her country. Instruments for some, baits for others, respected or despised, often muzzled, all women have almost the same fate, which religions or unjust legislation have sealed. President Buhari You are a Northern Muslim woman from an affluent family.
Well, the prose is beauteous, the plot treats with an entirety of life probed in a delightfully full and empathetic manner, intellect couples wondrously with love, different choices of life do not feel the need to compete with the other, the old is there and is understood, the new is there and adapted to, pain heals slow and sure and friendship is raised to the heights it deserves. Angered by the traditions that allow polygyny, they inhabit a social milieu dominated by attitudes and values that deny them status equal to men. The two women have basically different views on many things related to being a woman in Africa. This long letter is a journey from loss and grief, towards a new life, and a new understanding of life. Or has this particularly shoddy custom always existed in Senegal, and would he have been able to get away with it equally well fifty or a hundred years previously? The hallmark of her life- succeeding on her own terms.
Books knit generations together in the same continuing effort that leads to progress. Despite how scary it would be to have a stranger just walking in. Our recent widow is reflecting on how she is unable to detach from memories of better times in the past, during those 25 years where she was happily married and the only wife of her husband and the more bitter, heart-breaking recent years where she was abandoned by him for the best friend of her daughter, a young woman, who traded the magic of youth, for the allure of shiny things with the exception of his silver grey streaks, which he in turn trades in for the black dye of those in denial of the ageing process. Of course this work excellently deals with this, and has rightly been considered something of a masterpiece for decades now. It's reflections on being a mother, family, duty, love and friendship.
Her writing was a means to generate more thinking of this issue in hopes that African women strive to be on equal footing as men. They for me, are among the extremely talented female feminist novelists. The much broader message that any reader will take away is the sense of hope and disappointment, clarity and confusion, of those caught in the bewildering social change of twentieth-century Africa. She recalls: It was the privilege of our generation to be the link between two periods of our history, one of domination, the other of independence. Written by people who wish to remain anonymous Ramatoulaye The protagonist and narrator of the novel through her letters, Ramatoulaye is a widowed Senegalese woman. Maraima Ba covers a range of topics in this epistolary novel. This theme of choice is an educational debate and exploration that takes place through the mothers and daughters of this novel: A daughter who wants her mother to leave an unhealthy marriage; a best friend who did leave and start a better life away from home; a woman who left her country, only to find that she would never be at home in her husband's country; an unmarried daughter who had to decide her unborn child's fate.
Trouble befell the marriages that were consummated over twenty years earlier. I had prepared myself for equal sharing, according to the precepts of Islam concerning polygamic life. This was a very hard struggle for her older children who'd grown up with Binetou. We numbered the possible losses. I feel at home in Muslim culture and feel a kinship with some of the great Muslim intellectuals.
I think about my best friend and I as we both became teachers. Aissatou Ramatoulaye's best friend, who she is writing to. She also notes: We all agreed that much dismantling was needed to introduce modernity within our tradition. She is aware of her status as an African woman who has had 12 children! It is an anguished plea from one conservative woman, to her liberal best friend who, when faced with the same choice, chose freedom: I listen to the words that create around me a new atmosphere in which I move, a stranger tormented…Cross sections of my life spring involuntarily from my memory, grandiose verses from the Koran, noble words of consolation fight for my attention I read this book as a high school student in Liberia, and I still remember how it seemed to taunt me: there it was, on the list of books to be read in my Language and Literature class; when I went to the next class, Reading,there it was again; and later, in French class, guess which book was waiting in its original French version: Une si longue lettre. For example, Ramatoulaye is the martyr-type as she tolerates that her philandering husband Modou Fall falls and marries a younger woman Binetou. At a personal level, it may interest you to know that I have Muslims in my family line.