Women In So Long A Letter By Mariama Ba

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In Senegal, there are certain expectations a woman must up hold to be viewed as a productive member of society. Senegalese women are expected to take care of their children, take care of their home, and be a doting wife. A good Senegalese woman is strong in her faith and partakes in the traditional ways of life. In the novel, So Long a letter by Mariama Ba, Ramatoulaye and her friend, Aissatou, are two very strong women. Both of their husbands decide to marry another wife. Aissatou and Rama both react in different ways. Rama decides to stay in the marriage even though her husband chooses to ignore his first family and focus most of his attention on his new wife, Binetou. Although being ignored and treated as if she is not there is tough, Rama…show more content…
They are also teachers but, when they come home they have another job, taking care the kids and house. Rama says, “house-wives deserve praise. The domestic work they carry out, and which is not paid for in hard cash, is essential to the home. Their compensation remains the pile of well-ironed, sweet-smelling washing, the shined tiled floor of which the foot glides, the gay kitchen filled with the smell of stews” (Ba 66). House-wives run the home. If nobody ran the home, it would fall apart. Some women strive to become a house-wife and eventually a mother. Rama is a mother of twelve children. Some of which tend to go off the rails of tradition towards the end of the book. A couple of her children start smoking; she tells them not to do it anymore. Another one of her kids gets pregnant by a law student. Instead of becoming mad and telling her daughter to get out of the house, she supports her. Having a child outside of a marriage is not in the norm of the Senegalese community. One community member, Farmata, criticizes Rama for supporting her daughter. This single incident proves how strong Rama is after her husband has taken a new wife, then died leaving Rama all alone. In the article, Feminism in an African Context: Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter by Rizwana Habib Latha, the author says, “the unconditional love of a mother for her female children sometimes entails making choices for them which conflict with the norms and values of a traditional society” (Latha 36). Rama is this mother. She will choose her children over traditional values. Since she chooses her children makes her an even better woman than she already was to begin
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