J. Roger Kurtz
ENGL 204: Postcolonial Literature II
February 11, 2019
A Mother’s Love
Ramatoulaye, is a loving mother in Mariama Bâ’s So Long A Letter. While dealing with her deceitful husband, Modou’s “abandonment of his first family” (9) and his death shortly after, Ramatoulaye must accept her fate as a single mother. The battles that she faces throughout the novel are not only specific to her martial circumstance but around her twelve children who are growing up amid a rapidly changing society. As they move into a much more progressive and liberal society, Ramatoulaye is presented with several issues such as, unplanned pregnancies, education and smoking.
As a progressive and liberal mother, she parents her children without an iron fist but with a much gentler approach. However, like many mothers, Ramatoulaye worries that her approaches to parenting may not be in her children’s best interest after catching “Arame, Yacine, and Dieynaba, smoking in their bedroom” (76), “Suddenly I became afraid of the flow of progress. Did they also drink? Who knows, one vice leads to another.” (77). This then causes her to Ramatoulaye to spiral and begin to question “Was I to blame for having given my daughters a bit of liberty?” (77). Ultimately, Ramatoulaye gives in and allows her daughters to change with society and to give them the opportunity to make their own decisions whether they align with her traditions or not. Allowing her daughters to be open to friendships with the opposite sex, wearing trousers and giv...