QUESTION: THE INFLUENCE OF ASSIMILATION: CASE STUDY OF RAMATOULAYE. Mariama Bâ’s So Long a LETTER is one of the African novels written by an African credited with showcasing the various changes that have been brought about by colonialism especially in African countries. “So Long A Letter” was written with the ideal timing and place that is after the French colonisation in Senegal in the latter part of the 20th Century. It is thus uniquely placed to portray to us at first hand, the influence of Colonialism on the Senegalese people. Assimilation is a term used in tandem with colonialism where it pertains to the French. It advocated a wholesale immersion onto the French culture by the natives, to the end of making Frenchmen out of them. This essay will discuss the impact of this French policy through the main character. I have chosen to focus on the character of Ramatoulaye as she is central to the plot of the novel, being both its narrator and principal character. She also has the unique position of being presented as having witnessed both colonial and post-colonial times. In addition to her narration, Bâ affords her times of reflection that give us further insight into societal pressures and issues of her era. Bâ is able to show this influence through a use of a number of techniques which includes writing the book in an epistolary format between two best friends that is Ramatoulaye and Aissatou and through the blending of three cultures that existed at that time which are the Traditional culture, the French assimilation and the Islamic culture. Also, a number of themes created especially that of education in the novel hinges on the issue of assimilation. One of the most visible influences of assimilation is the newfound boldness of the African Woman symbolised by, Ramatoulaye. She is shown to be a fully educated lady, married to an important man in the country, Modou Fall with 12 children but widowed after 25 years of marriage. Traditionally, Ramatoulaye is...
Cited: Ba, Mariama. "SO LONG A LETTER." Ba, Mariama. SO LONG A LETTER. London: Pearson Education Limited, 1980. 70.
—. SO LONG A LETTER. London: Pearson Education Limited, 1980.
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