Book Review : So Long A Letter By Mariama Ba Essay

1203 Words Oct 28th, 2016 5 Pages
Women’s Roles in Senegal
In So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ, Bâ illustrates the roles of Senegalese women compared to men in a Western African and Islamic society. She uses the lives of two main characters, Ramatoulaye and Aissatou, to display the roles women played in the changing social climates of Western Africa. During this time period, liberation for women gained a large amount of momentum and Bâ focuses on Ramatoulaye’s and Aissatou’s reactions to their husbands taking a second wife. Aissatou responds in a more modern way and fails to conform to social standards by divorcing her husband and furthering her education, something that was uncommon in Senegalese culture. Ramatoulaye, however, acts with a more traditionalist demeanor and chooses to stay with her husband, though she decides to parent her daughters in a modern fashion, allowing them to have more freedom then typical girls. Bâ focuses on the ways in which women began to oppose tradition and create lives in which they embraced liberation and created new roles for themselves and their daughters in a transitioning societly. In her letter to Aissatou, Ramatoulaye states, “It was a privilege of our generation to be the link between two periods in our history, one of domination, the other of independence” (Bâ, 7). This phrase is very significant to the narrative, because it identifies the true conflict for women in Senegelese society: to conform to traditional women’s roles or to embrace liberation. Aissatou and…

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