A literary analysis of the character ramatoulaye in so long a letter by mariama ba

The novel discusses the stories of lifelong friends Ramatoulaye who is writing the letter and Aissatou and the ways that their relationships with men are both similar and different. Ramatoulaye ends up marrying Moudou Fall, who eventually becomes enamoured with their daughter's young friend Binetou.

A literary analysis of the character ramatoulaye in so long a letter by mariama ba

Lessons of Cadmus Charles O Keefe Denison University ABSTRACT Because the myth of Cadmus makes striking use of the image of teeth and involves the issue of foreign cultural penetration, it offers a productive vantage point from which to view So Long a Letter, for the latter too pays distinctive attention to teeth and of course to the issue of colonialism.

This article takes the myth as a point of departure in order to highlight the narrator Ramatoulaye s unacknowledged inconsistencies and conflicts both in the cultural and emotional domains.


This allows for an increased appreciation of the text s subtleties in characterization, narration, and genre classification, and it adds to questions about Ramatoulaye s narrative reliability and about too facile an interpretation of this novel s progressive inspiration.

To sink one s teeth into a narrative is to engage it substantially and presumably positively. However, the expression is ultimately paradoxical, because to sink one s teeth into a narrative also implies violence, specifically a tearing into and apart.

First, teeth get linked to what is this Senegalese novel s very crux, the letter-writer Ramatoulaye s pondering the issues of fidelity, character, and betrayal in human relationships on both the personal and more broadly conceived levels.

For Ramatoulaye, her husband s fidelity, character, and betrayal crystallize visually for her in her superstitious preoccupation with the two front teeth as marker of sensual selfishness.

At one point Ramatoulaye, apostrophizing Modou, whose death had provided the near occasion for her to take up the pen, writes: I no longer laugh when I think that [my mother] found you too handsome, too polished, too perfect for a man. She often spoke of the wide gap between your two upper incisors: In what is not the only example of that tendency on her part, 3 Ramatoulaye does not even recognize the logical conflict between her unchallenged superstition about teeth and the rational modernism that she absorbed as one of the first students in a selective French teacher-training school for women during colonial rule.

All good reading being rereading, once alerted to the role of teeth in Ramatoulaye s narrative one can with profit reread the complete text in search of a richer appreciation of their role. In a text woven of memories, the seemingly incidental character of this initial memory ought not to incline us to dismiss its importance, for as Edward Said has emphasized, what is first, because it is first, because it begins, is eminent 32and in this text Ramatoulaye s memory of teeth is an integral part of her undertaking the act of recollection.

We should note as well that the notion 3 CHARLES O KEEFE 65 of future harvests from metaphorical plantings constitutes an important part even of Ramatoulaye s world view, for later in So Long a Letter she returns to it in the larger context of sisterhood 72and in her closing paragraphs she writes of feeling the growing buds of her future self Moreover, in this incipit teeth take us to the heart of the text in another way too, because in unfettered inconsistency they relate to an animist practice faithful to the Mouse-Fairy, but performed by devout Muslim girls, but articulated in one of the more intellectual languages of Christian Europe.

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In other words, the mention of the teeth also incarnates the culturally conflicted crossroad that is the African, Muslim, and French-educated mind both of the literate, captivating narrator and of her creator, the conflicted crossroad that has made this novel of such interest and significance in a world of increasing cultural conflict.

Intertextuality will be understood in the sense articulated by Gerard Genette: Cadmus, we should recall, buried dragon teeth only to have them spring up immediately as warriors, and he had the warriors build on a rural field a citadel that was to become the urban center Thebes Apollodorus A study of Greek mythology, as Bachofen and Briffault insisted long ago, should begin with an understanding of the matriarchal and totemistic system which 4 66 Research in African Liter atures Volume 40 Number 2 obtained in Europe before the arrival of patriarchal invaders from the east and north.

One can then follow its gradual supersession first by a matrilineal and then by a patrilineal sacred monarchy, at last by a fully patriarchal system as the migrant tribe with its phratries and clans gave place to the regional state with its towns and villages.

Teachers at kindergarten level, as at university level form a noble army accomplishing daily feats, never praised, never decorated.

A literary analysis of the character ramatoulaye in so long a letter by mariama ba

An army forever on the move, forever vigilant.Femi Ojo-Ade’s critical review of So Long a Letter is perhaps the best place to begin such an analysis because of the status it has since acquired in African literary criticism.

5 As Pius Adesanmi has noted, Ojo-Ade seems to have carved a niche in literary . The novel So Long A Letter, by Mariama Ba, is based on the Senegalese culture and shows how important tradition is in Africa. The novel is a series of letters written by a recently widowed woman, Ramatoulaye, to her best friend Aissatou.

analysis, quotes, character descriptions, themes, and more. Thu, 13 Sep So Long a Letter begins when Ramatoulaye, a Senegalese woman living in Dakar, the country’s Analysis on So Long A Letter by Mariama Ba Mariama B was born into an influential Senegalese family in She was.

So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba is a novel written in the form of a long letter addressed by Ramatoulaye Fall to Aissatou Bâ. The occasion of the letter is the death of Ramatoulaye .

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* Feminism: where Ramatoulaye realizes that she was obeying and depending on her husband and following the societal norms and urges all the other woman to unite and be independent of a man that. 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.

Despite the fact that it is a short text of only 90 pages, Ba is able to construct.

So Long a Letter Summary & Study Guide