So Long a Letter


Mariama Bâ

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So Long a Letter: Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Ibrahima visits Ramatoulaye’s house often. He is a role model to Ramatoulaye’s young sons, and he encourages Aissatou’s namesake in her studies. “The trio” spurns him, and Farmata remains skeptical, but Ramatoulaye comes to admire him greatly.
Once again, Ibrahima’s conscientious and solicitous behavior is a hopeful counterpoint to Modou’s abandonment of Ramatoulaye.
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Spurred on by Aissatou II’s pregnancy, Ramatoulaye decides to have a conversation with “the trio,” her younger daughters, about sexual education. She remarks that in the past, young girls have been taught chastity above all else. However, instead of forbidding sex outright, she channels a more “modern” outlook, and decides to emphasize safe sex above all. In addition, she tries to underline the “sublime significance” of sex, in the hope that her daughters will take it seriously. She delivers her lecture nervously and with some difficulty, but her daughters seem unfazed and even bored by it—Ramatoulaye gets the impression that, to them, she is merely stating the obvious.
Times have changed: though Ramatoulaye finds it difficult to adopt a more “modern” outlook than she is used to, her daughters, simply by virtue of being young, have naturally developed more liberal attitudes toward sex than the older generations. If Ramatoulaye’s daughters are any indication, the future of Senegal has the potential to be more open, honest, and understanding than ever before.
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