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So Long a Letter Themes

Mariama Ba
This Study Guide consists of approximately 97 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of So Long a Letter.
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Themes

European vs. African Traditions

As critic John Champagne has pointed out, So Long a Letter is filled with descriptions of the culture clash apparent in 1970s Senegal. Besides the "hybridity" of the novel's form and content, Champagne argues that the novel "combines a European genre—the epistolary novel—with indigenous oral gestures" and "presents us with a culture irrevocably altered by the colonial presence." Thus, Champagne notes how "one might find in proximity both cowries and Fiats, boubous and night clubs, safara (as the glossary explains, 'liquid with supernatural powers') and electroshock therapy." While at times it seems as though Bâ favors Western ways over African traditions, Bâ mainly shows how both exist side by side. Ramatoulaye is distressed that her daughters have begun to smoke and to dress like Western women. She hopes that a Western type of feminism will not lead to moral dissolution: "A...

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This section contains 661 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our So Long a Letter Study Guide
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So Long a Letter from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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