Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Sights and Sounds
So Long A Letter is the story of Ramatoulaye, a recently-widowed Sengalese [Senegalese] woman, as she writes to her long-time friend Aissatou. It is the articulate, often anguished narrative of a Muslim woman faced with the sudden second marriage of her husband of twenty-five years. Although polygamy is accepted by her religion and her society, Ramatoulaye feels rejected and betrayed. Yet she chooses to remain in her marriage and prepares to " share equally" her husband with her new co-wife, as dictated by Muslim law. Her husband, however, abandons her completely, to manage their twelve children alone. Upon his death five years later, she is faced not only with grief and confused emotion but also with enormous debts he compiled in wooing his new young wife and her greedy mother. Ramatoulaye's dignity and quiet strength overcome her bitterness and pain, and she is able to begin forging her own happiness again while responding to her family's changing needs.
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1985