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Published: 22-11-2019

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Mariama Bâ and Her Novel “So Long a Letter”

C.S. Lewis mentioned “Literature adds to reality, it does not basically describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that day-to-day life demands and supplies and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have currently grow to be.”(Brainyquote Com, 2017) The setting of So Long a Letter is truly essential and decisive since it is straight related to the author’s background, which is Dakar the capital of Senegal throughout the precolonial period and purely in the Senegalese’s tradition and culture. At that time, life was dominated by the Muslim religion’s directions, the polygamy program and the patriarchal system in the society.

Mariama Bâ (April 17, 1929–August 17, 1981) was a Senegalese author and feminist, who wrote in French. Born in Dakar, she was raised a Muslim, but at an early age started to criticise the inequalities amongst the sexes resulting from African traditions. She lived in a equivalent society as the a single in her book, exactly where girls did not go far in school, girls were obedient to their husband, and males were treated as superior than ladies.

So Extended a Letter is a sequence of events narrated in the type of a letter, by the (fictional) recently widowed Senegalese college teacher Ramatoulaye. It is a record of Ramatoulaye’s emotional struggle for survival right after her husband’s abrupt selection to take a second wife. Mariama Ba’s life is reflected in the book first with the related setting and with main figures Ramatoulaye and Aissatou. The presence of similarity and references to Ba’s life is present all through the book. The most recurrent similarity is the chauvinism criticise by Ba. Either in Ramatoulaye’s life or Aissatou’s own.

First hunting at the setting it is noticed that the background of the author has a significant effect on the way she writes her novel. Bâ was raised during the colonial revolution period. She was a prominent low student at school since even though she received her early education in French, she was attending at the identical time Koranic college. In the novel it is indicates that Ramatoulaye, her youngsters as nicely as other female were attending Koranic school, and few of them attended French school. Even when they had been doing so they have been facing the oppositions from guys surrounding them as properly as Bâ’s maternal grandparents did not strategy to educate her beyond principal college. This is one of the situations which make us to look at how Bâ attempt to criticise the inequality present at the time between males and girls. Bâ’s source of determination and commitment to the feminist course stemmed from her background, her parent’s life and her schooling.

Bâ’s operate focused on the grandmother, the mother, the sister, the daughter, the cousin and the pal, how they all deserve the title (The patriotic vanguard, 2013) and how they are crucial for the society. That is why she laid emphasis on all the details directly affecting the lady in basic throughout the novel. “My [wound] continues to bleed” (Web page 5). Right here the author expose how Ramatoulaye is affected not by her husband’s current death, but rather the discomfort that comes up from her husband’s rejection of her by taking a younger wife right after twenty five years of marriage. The truth that Modou Fall got married to the ideal buddy of Ramatoulaye’s daughter could have also been analysed searching at how the husband feels about that decision but the author did not extend as well a lot on it since she is touching the distinct state of thoughts of the females in the story based on her personal knowledge.

Aissatou on the other hand, in contrast to Ramatoulaye she felt her husband and created her personal life following her husband Mawdo Ba who took a second wife right after years of marriage. Aissatou clearly showed her disapproval with the polygamy that she takes as a lack of respect toward the dignity of ladies as she said “I am stripping myself of your really like, your name. Clothed my dignity, the only worthy garment, I go my way” (Web page 32). As a divorcee and “a contemporary Muslim woman” (The patriotic vanguard, 2013) since she passed by way of several events in the course of her marriage and it is reflected in the novel when Ramatoulaye expressed her point of vue of marriage. It is clear that there are some similarities with Bâ’s personal vision Ramatoulaye said “Marriage is never smooth. It reflects differences in character and capacity for feeling” (Web page 55). It can then be pick out that according to Senegalese women the notion of marriage was perceived as an crucial passage of all of them. Women are dependent both psychologically and financially of their husband that whatever misbehaviour the husband will have they will not take radical decisions whilst it in fact hurt them.

This aspect is triggered by a full lack of regard for the consequences of men’s actions on families. They are completely identified. These details produced Bâ believe that her mission was to criticise the stereotypes used to justify established power structures. This power is what is in the novel a type of discrimination coming from society’s construction of patriarchal ideology. Since throughout the story females seemingly has no correct figuring out their destiny like Ramatoulaye, Binetou, young Nabou. “One is a mother in order to enjoy with no beginning or end” (web page 83). Ramatoulaye is not fully against polygamy but for certain her discomfort is clear. Although brave Mariama Bâ skilled the many facets that women in Senegal must deal with. Soon after becoming a widow, Ramatoulaye’s life is truly tough due to the fact she had no specialist education.

As a outcome she will have to face the financial and emotional consequences of getting a single mother. Ramatoulaye was not able to be alone, that is why she stated “The nation is created up of all the families, rich or poor, united or separated, conscious or unaware. The good results of a nation therefore depends inevitably on the family” (Page 89). Ramatoulaye aches in her aggravation since she wants her youngsters to have the strength of being a element of a united loved ones. Their family members has been divided by the second wife, and Ramatoulaye worries a lot for her children’s future, hence the future of the nation. Education is also a single of the aspects which showed that the revolution was evolving. Mariama Bâ becomes an elementary school teacher for twelve years after she received her advanced studies in the Ecole Normale de Refisque. Ramatoulaye is also a teacher in the book.

Bâ passed by way of the shame and indignity of divorce in life in the Senegalese culture, and had to sustain to the requirements of nine youngsters alone with the meagre salary of an elementary teacher in Dakar at the time. It can then be assumed that Bâ relive by way of the book but this time decided to stay in the failed marriage with Modou Fall. So she beautify this story by describing Ramatoulaye as a robust woman because she stands by her husband though he betrayed him by taking a second wife without her getting conscious of it. The events that I have described above are a direct transfer of Mariama Bâ’s life as a Senegalese teacher, ladies and wife. She wrote So Lengthy a Letter as a memoir of her life, but there are some modifications she created in order to preserve her privacy. One particular of those is the reality that Bâ divorced after twenty 5 years of marriage although Ramatoulaye holds on to her marriage of thirty years. Also Ramatoulaye have twelve children while Bâ only had nine.

Mariama Bâ has revealed in her book So Long a Letter, her thoughts, her perceptions on life and emotions in numerous techniques. All these facts have been identified thanks to the similarities among her life and that of her protagonist, Ramatoulaye. But what is clear is that Bâ was a feminist who criticise the chauvinism in the Senegalese’s culture which was according to her humiliating females. She suffers the indignity of an oppressive Islam culture as a Muslim lady in Senegal. It is thus indicates that Bâ’s background had a considerable effect in the way she wrote So Long a Letter. The query now is: Are books the precise signifies to transfer a message? Since the primary purpose why Mariama Bâ wrote operates of art was since she strongly believed that with books her message can be transmitted from generation to generation. This book has currently been published in a lot more than a dozen languages and is about to seem in more, this can signify how universal and timeless the book is.

Also according to her “The energy of books, this marvellous invention of astute human intelligence. Different indicators associated with sound: diverse sounds that form the word. Juxtaposition of words from which springs the thought, Believed, History, Science, Life. Sole instrument of interrelationship and of culture, unparalleled signifies of giving and getting. Books knit generations with each other in the very same continuing effort that leads to progress. They enabled you to greater yourself. What society refused you, they granted” (Mariama Bâ, 1981)
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