2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Cultural and Economic Contexts and their Effects on Two Women's Struggles for Independence in Mariama Bâ's So Long A Letter
Emily K. Pufall
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Senegalese author and feminist Mariama Bâ (1929-1981) explores the pressures and issues facing two Senegalese women in her first novel, So Long a Letter (1981). Both women, Ramatoulaye and Assitou, experience internal struggles resulting from their husbands taking second wives. Each woman then, in her own way, undergoes a transformation and period of self-discovery that leaves her more empowered and independent. This independence, however, does not always result in complete detachment from their relationships; rather, it creates new dynamics in the relationships they have with their husbands, children, elders, and with each other. This paper, through emphasis on the cultural and economic contexts of this novel and the differences in background of each character, explores these transformations, the reasons for their differing actions and emotions toward their situations, and the resulting changes in their various relationships.

Keywords: Marima Bâ, So Long a Letter, Senegal, feminism, cultural context

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 44-1
Location: VH 1428
Time: 1:15 pm

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