French by the Senegalese writer Mariama Bâ. Its theme is the condition of women in Western African society. So So long a letter by mariama ba pdf free download a Letter, Mariama Bâ’s first novel, is literally written as a long letter. As the novel begins, Ramatoulaye Fall is beginning a letter to her lifelong friend Aissatou Bâ.
The occasion for writing is Ramatoulaye’s recent widowhood. As she gives her friend the details of her husband’s death, she recounts the major events in their lives.
The novel is often used in literature classes focusing on women’s roles in post-colonial Africa. It won the first Noma Prize for Publishing in Africa in 1980. So Long a Letter is written as a series of letters between the main character Ramatoulaye Fall and her best friend Aissatou following the sudden death of Ramatoulaye’s husband Modou from a heart attack. The letters are written while Ramatoulaye participates in ‘iddah, a four month and ten day mourning process that widows of the Muslim Senegalese culture must follow.
Through the letters Ramatoulaye describes the emotions that flooded her during the first few days after her husband’s death and speaks in detail about how he lost his life. She then discusses the life that she led with her husband, leading up to when Modou betrayed her by taking a second wife without her knowledge after 25 years of marriage. Ramatoulaye details to Aissatou how she dealt with this betrayal emotionally and how she grew throughout each event in her life.
Senegal was home to many indigenous peoples during precolonial times. Around the 9th century AD Islamization spread throughout Senegal due to the expansive trade routes throughout Western Africa.
Today, roughly 90 percent of Senegalese society follows Muslim religion while the remaining 10 percent follows forms of Christianity or mixed religions. Although many people follow Muslim religion, Arabic culture is not practiced in Senegal nor is Arabic spoken as the language. Much of their legal codes are from translated passages of the Qu’ran.
French colonialism came to Senegal in the 1800s and enforced a separation of church and state. However many still abide by the Qu’ran’s laws which shape ideas of gender roles, family life, marriage, and the patrilineal male dominated society. So Long a Letter deals with multiple themes, which includes the life of women in Senegal during the 1970s and 1980s, family and community life, Islam and polygamy, and death rituals. Ramatoulaye: The widowed Senegalese woman who, after 25 years of marriage and 12 children, narrates the story of her psychological abandonment by her husband, who takes a second wife.