Colonialism in theory ended in Senegal
on August 20, 1960, date on which Senegal became the Republic of
Senegal, electing its first president in September 1960. But as So Long a Letter
independence did not eliminate controversies and struggles within
postcolonial societies (i.e. former colonial societies as they existed
after the political act or acts of decolonization that created
independence). Aissatou and Ramatoulaye both have personal crises
linked to what colonial officials would have seen as Senegal's
"traditional" culture, which allowed men to marry more than one wife
and imposed financially burdensome penalties on them into the
bargain. Moreover, one could credit the professional ascent of
both Aissatou and Ramatoulaye in part to the educational institutions
and non-traditional roles for women that the creation of French West
Africa introduced to the peoples of what became Senegal. And yet
without question few if any in Senegal would have given up
independence. That being the case, it would seem that Miriam Ba
presents us with a conundrum: the reality that postcolonial societies
have and will retain features from their colonial pasts even as they
work through the problems of the present and future. Write an
essay of two pages that:
1) Has an introduction of 1/4 of a page and takes a position as to
whether Ramatoulaye or her best friend Assiatou arrives at the best
solution to coping with life in postcolonial Senegal.
2) Has a 1/2-page examination of their respective situations and their
links to the colonial past the postcolonial present in the novel.
3) Has a 1/2-page examination of their respective solutions to the
challenges in their lives.
4) Has a 1/2-page dicussion of what their siuations collectively say
about women in Senegal (mindful of their socio-economic positions and
5) Has a 1/4-page conclusion in which the thesis from section 1 is
The first or main-entry footnote should be formatted as follows:
Mariama Bâ, So Long a Letter
translated by Modupé Bodé-Thomas (Oxford: Heinemann
Educational Publishers, 1981), [insert number(s) of page(s) here].
Thereafter all notes should use the abbreviation Ibid. as your only
source for this paper should be So Long a Letter.