So Long a Letter

Mawdo Character Analysis

Aissatou’s husband. Mawdo is a doctor, an upstanding citizen, and a member of Senegal’s class of nobles. He and Aissatou fall in love despite the class difference between their two families. This upsets Mawdo’s mother, who eventually tricks him into taking on his young cousin Nabou as a second wife. He does so somewhat reluctantly, but then proceeds to have children with Nabou, claiming all the while that he only loves Aissatou. Aissatou cannot accept this and leaves him. Even after Aissatou’s departure, however, Mawdo remains a good friend to Ramatoulaye.

Mawdo Quotes in So Long a Letter

The So Long a Letter quotes below are all either spoken by Mawdo or refer to Mawdo. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Custom, Modernity, and Progress Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Waveland Press edition of So Long a Letter published in 2012.
Chapter 12 Quotes

I was irritated. He was asking me to understand. But to understand what? The supremacy of instinct? The right to betray? The justification of the desire for variety? I could not be an ally to polygamic instincts. What, then, was I to understand?

Related Characters: Ramatoulaye (speaker), Mawdo
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

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Mawdo Character Timeline in So Long a Letter

The timeline below shows where the character Mawdo appears in So Long a Letter. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Feminism and Islam Theme Icon
Friendship vs. Marital Love Theme Icon
Dialogue and Address Theme Icon
...as her trip to the hospital, and her encounter with the body. She explains that Mawdo, Modou’s doctor friend and Aissatou’s ex-husband, was called to the scene but arrived too late—all... (full context)
Chapter 6
Feminism and Islam Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Friendship vs. Marital Love Theme Icon
...his return to Senegal, Modou and Ramatoulaye prepared to marry. Modou also introduced his friend Mawdo to Aissatou. Ramatoulaye’s mother was skeptical of her daughter’s choice, however, and Ramatoulaye now understands... (full context)
Chapter 8
Custom, Modernity, and Progress Theme Icon
Ramatoulaye shifts her attention to Aissatou’s controversial engagement to Mawdo. Aissatou is of modest birth—her father is a goldsmith—while Mawdo is nobility, his mother a... (full context)
Chapter 11
Custom, Modernity, and Progress Theme Icon
Feminism and Islam Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Friendship vs. Marital Love Theme Icon
...for her friend, Ramatoulaye proceeds to describe the breakup of Aissatou’s marriage. She explains that Mawdo’s mother, Aissatou’s “Aunty Nabou,” simply could not accept that her son had married a woman... (full context)
Chapter 12
Custom, Modernity, and Progress Theme Icon
Feminism and Islam Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Friendship vs. Marital Love Theme Icon
Dialogue and Address Theme Icon
...French school and after a few years becomes a midwife. One day, Aunty Nabou summons Mawdo and tells him that Farba has offered young Nabou to Mawdo as a wife. Aunty... (full context)
Custom, Modernity, and Progress Theme Icon
Feminism and Islam Theme Icon
Friendship vs. Marital Love Theme Icon
...a degree in interpretation, and gets a job at the Senegalese embassy in America. Meanwhile, Mawdo finds himself dissatisfied with Nabou. She does not keep up the house in the way... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Feminism and Islam Theme Icon
Friendship vs. Marital Love Theme Icon
Dialogue and Address Theme Icon
...the day that Binetou is to be married to her sugar daddy, Modou’s brother Tamsir, Mawdo, and a local imam appear at Ramatoulaye’s house. Modou is nowhere to be seen. After... (full context)
Chapter 14
Feminism and Islam Theme Icon
Friendship vs. Marital Love Theme Icon
...Binetou’s sugar daddy, is infuriated, and implores Ramatoulaye to leave Modou just like Aissatou left Mawdo. Ramatoulaye’s neighbor, Farmata, also encourages Ramatoulaye to leave. Farmata is a griot, a kind of... (full context)
Custom, Modernity, and Progress Theme Icon
Feminism and Islam Theme Icon
Friendship vs. Marital Love Theme Icon
Dialogue and Address Theme Icon
...her acquaintance, Jacqueline. Jacqueline, a protestant from Coite d’Ivoire, marries Samba Diack, a friend of Mawdo’s. Jacqueline is not used to Senegalese customs. She is treated like an outsider, and is... (full context)
Chapter 18
Custom, Modernity, and Progress Theme Icon
Feminism and Islam Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Friendship vs. Marital Love Theme Icon
Dialogue and Address Theme Icon
...Modou’s death. Ramatoulaye writes that she has forgiven him. Then, out of the blue, Tamsir, Mawdo, and the Imam appear again in Ramatoulaye’s home. Tamsir speaks, telling Ramatoulaye that as soon... (full context)
Custom, Modernity, and Progress Theme Icon
Feminism and Islam Theme Icon
Friendship vs. Marital Love Theme Icon
Dialogue and Address Theme Icon
...simply after his brother’s properties, which Daba and her husband have recently bought. Taken aback, Mawdo begs Ramatoulaye to stop yelling, but she refuses. Finally she finishes, and Tamsir leaves, defeated... (full context)
Chapter 24
Custom, Modernity, and Progress Theme Icon
Feminism and Islam Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
...have been playing in the street to begin with. Malick’s broken arm is treated by Mawdo at the hospital. (full context)