So Long a Letter - Chapters 1-5 Summary & Analysis

Mariama Ba
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Summary

Ramatoulaye, a Senegalese school teacher living near Dakar, writes a letter to her friend Aissatou in the form of a diary, during her tenge - a widow’s isolated mourning period in Muslim Senegal. The first five chapters describe Modou’s death, his burial and the traditional mourning process.

Chapter 1

Ramatoulaye fondly remembers her youthful friendship with Aissatou when they were neighbors and went to Koranic School together. Aissatou is divorced and Ramatoulaye now breaks her own news that she is newly a widow. Ramatoulaye’s husband, Modou, had a heart attack and the doctor Mawdo (his friend of 40 years) was not able to revive him.

Chapter 2

Modou Falls is a National figure and the announcement of his death on the radio draws people from across the country for the burial. Ramatoulaye and her co-wife sit in Ramatoulaye’s home, where they accept visitors for...

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This section contains 1,185 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the So Long a Letter Study Guide
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