The Theme Of Cultural Conflict In Mariama Ba’s So Long A Letter And Nawal El- Saadawi’s Woman At Point Zero

The Theme Of Cultural Conflict In Mariama Ba’s So Long A Letter And Nawal El- Saadawi’s Woman At Point Zero
The Theme Of Cultural Conflict In Mariama Ba’s So Long A Letter And Nawal El- Saadawi’s Woman At Point Zero

THE THEME OF CULTURAL CONFLICT IN MARIAMA BA’S SO LONG A LETTER AND NAWAL EL- SAADAWI’S WOMAN AT POINT ZERO

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ABSTRACT

This research work examines the theme of cultural conflict in Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter and Nawal El- Saadawi’s Woman at Point Zero. With reference to the two selected novels under investigation, African cultural practices affect the women mentally and psychologically. They are oppressing, humiliated and disillusioned by their male counterparts as seen in this two novels. The study has also revealed that African women faces lots of marital trauma after their husbands’ demise. These women are always accuse of murder while some are send out of their late husband’s houses and neglected by the family members without care. The study further revealed that polygamy is another major cause of conflict in African society.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the study

This study examines cultural conflicts in   Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter and Nawal El Sadaawi’s Woman at Point Zero. These female writers use their work of art to portray and examine the impact of race, class and gender on women’s relationships.

To explore the message in these novels convectively, women face the challenges of patriarchal institutions to subjugate them through polygamy, neo-colonialism, and constraints of tradition, caste prejudices, political instability and the patriarchal subjugation.

Saadawi and Mariama to explore these issues of cultural problem in this contemporary society. However, their writing focuses on the power of patriarchy which constitutes a threat to female bonding and usually causes women’s estrangement.  Mariama Ba’s novel So Long a Letter portrays a clear polygamy issues and patriarchal domination on women’s relationship with men. She describes the plight of women owing to different forms of oppressions. She demonstrates this social injustice in her female characters, how they face various marital and cultural afflictions throughout their lives.

 

However, their struggle against the patriarchal subjugation the protagonists in So Long a Letter as examine by the author… make a stronger plea to average women to develop female bonding and financial independence to liberate themselves from the burden of oppression.

While on the other hand, Nawal El Saadawi is one of best Egyptian novelists who have written extensively on the impact of misogynist social structures on Egyptian women.

 

The specific nature of sexual oppression and links to capitalism and imperialism. Her writings focuses on women’s life condition… uses her literary work in portraying to the entire African society how the African cultural practices affect the women.

Unlike Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter she portrays how the protagonist. Ramatoulaye gone through several cultural trauma, and oppression of patriarchal by her husband, Madou. Mariama portrays how her main characters struggle throughout their lives in order to survive their predicament. Aissatou and Ramatoulaye have experienced sharing a husband with another woman, although their reactions to such experience are different.

Aissatou divorces Mawdo after he succumbs to his mother’s pressure and takes his cousin Nabou as a second wife after twenty five years of marriage. While Ramatoulaye decides to stay away when her husband Modou marries Binetou, a much younger woman who was their daughter’s friend.

When Modou abandons her for Binetou, Ramatoulaye assumes the upbringing of their twelve children but stays legally married to him until his death.  In support of this view, Nawal El Sadawi portrays in this novel understudy. Woman at Point Zero how African women are always at a disadvantages in any relationship with the opposite sex. She uses her female heroine, Firdaus in showing how the image of women as sex objects… in the hands of men in the society.  Consequently, this form the background to this research work, on cultural conflicts in the novels under investigation.

 

1.2     Statement of the problem

Mariama Ba and Nawal El Sadawi are on the notion that, African women have to fight against an oppressive culture and its attendant discrimination against female gender.

The oppressive nature of African cultures spark the reaction tired feminism. Which is one of the prominent ideologies that portrays cultural conflict against women in male dominated African societies.

 

1.3     Purpose of the study

The main purpose of this study is to identify the theme of conflicts in Mariama B’s So Long a Letter and Nawal El Sadawi’s Woman at Point Zero and their reaction to the oppressive and discriminating culture experienced by African women in the novels under study.

 

1.4     Significance of the study

The topic the theme of cultural conflict in Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter and Nawal El Sadawi’s Woman at Point Zero. Will serve as a good research material to students of English and Literature. And other researcher who will find this work reliable. This research will also throw more light on the causes of cultural conflicts in African societies.

 

1.5     Objectives of the study

The main objectives of this research work are;

  • to examine the cultural conflicts in African societies as exposed in this novels under investigation.
  • to portrays the theme of cultural conflicts in Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter and Nawal El Sadawi’s Woman at Point Zero.
  • to suggest some possible ways of putting an end to the cultural discrimination against women in African societies.

 

1.6     Scope and limitation of the study

The scope of this study will be restricted primarily to the theme of cultural conflicts in Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter and Nawal El Sadawi’s Woman at Point Zero.

 

 

1.7     Research Methodology

This research work will make use of the primary and secondary sources on Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter and Nawal El Sadawi’s Woman at Point Zero. While the secondary sources will make use of some various literary novels. From the library, journals article and internet for more information on the research work.

 

1.8     Bio-Data of Mariama Ba

Mariama Ba was born 17 April, 1929 and died 17 August, 1981 at the age of 52 years. Ba was a Senegalese writer and a feminist who also wrote in French Language. Her father was a career civil servant who becomes the first minister of the State.

He was the minister of health in 1956 while her grandfather was an interpreter in the French occupation regime. Ba received her early education in French, while at the same time attending Koranie School. She was a prominent Law student at school, during the colonial evolutional period and later girls faced numerous obstacles when they want to have a higher education.

Ba’s grandparents did not plan to educate her beyond primary school, but her father insists on giving her opportunity to continue hefr studies eventually. While at the teacher training college in Rufisquel (a suburb in Darkar). Ba won the first prize in the entrance examination and enter the Ecole Normale schools. The school principal began to prepare her for the 1943 entrance examination to a teaching career after her noticed, Ba’s intellect and capacity. Ba taught in from 1947 to 1959, before transferring to the regional inspectorate of teaching as an education inspector.

As a feminist writer, her writings contributed absolutely important in Modern African studies since she was among the first to illustrate the disadvantage position of women in African societies. Her first work constitutes essentially a useful method of rejection of the so called French assimilation policy. Indeed, there is an unequal and unexplained power in the male and female relationships.

Ba wrote many books openly shearing her thoughts and feelings. Some of her literary books include; So Long a Letter 1981, Scarlif Song 1986, and La Fonection Palitique literature African ecrifes(The Political Function of African written Literature 1981. 

 

1.9      Bio- Data of Nawal El Sadawi

Nawal El Sadawi was born in 1931, in Kafrtahla a small village out the Cairo in nite  Delda region of lower Egypt. Her family was relatively traditional, and get some what progressive. Her father was a government official in the ministry of education, and his integrity as a mass opposed to corruption and that gave El Sadawi the model of independent thinking and also taught herself respect.

El Saadawi was raised in a large household with eight brothers and sisters. Her family was relatively traditional. She was “circumcised” at the age of six, and yet somewhat progressive. Her father insisted that all his children be educated. She describes her mother as “a potential revolutionary whose ambition was buried in her marriage.” Her mother died when she was 25, and her father shortly thereafter. Both unable to witness the incredible accomplishments their daughter went on to make.

 

Nawal El Saadawi is a leading Egyptian feminist, sociologist, medical doctor and militant writer on Arab women’s problems. El Saadawi attended the University of Cairo and graduated in 1955 with a degree in psychiatry. After completing her education, El Saadawi practiced psychiatry and eventually rose to become Egypt’s Director of Public Health.

El Saadawi met her husband, SherifHetata, also a doctor, while working in the Ministry of Health. The two shared an office together. Since she began to write over 25 years ago, El Saadawi’s books all have concentrated on women, particularly Arab women, their sexuality and legal status. From the start, her writings were considered controversial and dangerous for the society. She and her xlvii works were banished in Egypt.

In 1972, her first work of non-fiction, Women and Sex, which as the title suggests. Deals on the highly taboo subject of women and sexuality. And also the sensitive subjects of politics and religion was published. Under similar pressures she lost her post as Chief Editor of a health journal. Also as Assistant General Secretary in the Medical Association in Egypt. From 1973 to 1976 she researched on women and neurosis in the Ain Shams University’s Faculty of Medicine.

 

For instance her novel, Woman at Point Zero, based on a female death row inmate convicted of murdering her husband. From 1979-180 El Saadawi was the United Nations Advisor for the Women’s Program in Africa (ECA). Also the Middle East (ECWA). El Saadawi formed the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association (AWSA) in 1981. The AWSA was the first legal, independent feminist organization in Egypt.

El Saadawi was a writer in residence at Duke University’s Asian and African Languages Department from 1993-1996. She also taught at Washington State University in Seattle. Where she continues to devote her time to being a writer, journalist and worldwide speaker on women’s issues.

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