So Long A Letter by Mariama Ba, Distant View of a Minaret by Alifa Rifaat and Changes, A Love Story by Ama Ata Aidoo deals with the thematic concern of depicting the socio-cultural context of life. There is a direct amalgamated instance of the past into the present plot of these narrations. All these stories are about the circumstances and the modes living a woman decides or is compelled to get into in a male dominated society. There are various illustrations about the affects of colonialism that has encouraged and manipulated these situations and created more complicated situations for women. The approaches of all these authors are very realistic and there is diversified sense of feministic instincts that gets highlighted in their write ups.
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In this essay, the attempt has been forwarded to understand the major conditions of women in reference to the illustration of the personality of women narrated by these authors. The plots and the sequences are all analysed to identify the different approaches of these authors and at the same time their point of views are speculated in reference to the colonialism that has influences the selected demographical regions.
So long a letter is basically a semi-autobiographical narration that deals with some of the practical conditions faced by Mariama Bâ. The core thematic concern of this story is related to the conditions that are created for women in Western African society. Ramatoulaye and Aissatou are two friends who were of high aspirations during their student life and always dreamt about an independent state for Senegal from France. Both these women suffer from the treacherous act of their husbands. On the one hand, Ramatoulaye gets into the mournful life of sufferance, whereas Aissatou raises herself much above her positions and tries to prove her identity as a strong being. The context of polygamy and distrustful conjugal relationships are very much discussed in this narration. The author in particular tries to make the reader feel the conditions of woman when her love betrays her.
Followed by this approach is the Distant View of a Minaretis, which is actually a collection of fifteen short stories. All these stories are created to offer the reader with a glimpse of the conditions and the status of a woman in a society of very Orthodox Muslim in Egypt. All the fifteen stories are not interwoven or interconnected. However the combination all the se combination depicts the real life picture of Rifaat's world. Most of the stories in this collection are about the sexual relationships between man and woman and as a result the sufferance gets destined to woman. The stories like 'Distant View of a Minaret', 'Bahiyya's Eyes', 'An Incident in the Ghobashi Household', 'Badriyya and Her Husband' and 'Me and My Sister'; very well reflect the condition of woman in a male dominated society and the way she is not much considered as a being by them. The sexual and mental harassments led on the women characters of these stories depict the idea that woman in Orthodox Muslim society in Egypt are no more important than for the sexual pleasure of man. In every incident, it is the woman who is left alone with her destiny or siblings to suffer and struggle for life. These pathetic instances are all dealt with the illustrative explanation of those different kinds of mae characters who never gave women ant space in his heart.
Changes: a Love Story by Ama Ata Aidoo is a chronological depiction of a career-centred African woman. In this story the woman divorces her first husband and decides to get into a polygamist union. The concern here is to show the mental and the physical conditions decided for a woman in a socio-cultural context of Africa. In this story, the character of Esi Sekyi has been established as a very contemporary modern woman, who understands her value and is very much clear about her position in the society. She is educated and is well versed in the aspects of dealing with sex and emotional attachments. She is so bold and modern that she has got the guts to refuse any kind of sexual abuse led by her husband. She even complains about getting "marital rape" to her husband. These are the steps that are actually never expected from a woman in a male dominated social structure. However, the approach of Ama Ata Aidoo is very distinct as she represents Esi Sekyi. Her idea is to show the power that lies within a woman and the way she can actually deal with the day to day mental and physical sufferance led on her. The crux of this story is very different from the rest of the authors as the author her is creating all those instances that can also happen to woman instead of man. As Esi Sekyi meets Ali Kondey and gets flattered by the words of Ali, she starts believing herself more distinctly. She now hardly pays any attention to the desperate needs of her husband. She in a way starts ignoring her husband and eventually gets a divorce. The decision of Esi to get separate from her husband was something that is very painstaking for the characters narrated by Mariama Ba and Alifa Rifaat. As their characters decide to suffer or rather consider it as a bad dream, Ama Ata Aidoo makes Esi feel good about this separation. Her weakness for Ali made her bolder and she makes her decisions all by herself. However, the trust on Ali seemed to be a failure and Esi finds herself in a deceitful position of polygamy. Though she emerges as a very strong career oriented woman, yet cannot help getting herself a life as per her wish. Relationships turned all false to her and sufferance and loneliness becomes due.
The context of feministic depression harassment led on them is very common in all the narrations. The authors almost get together to offer a strong feministic revolt against the frailty of men in the society. The gender related concerns by these authors are very specific. They are more concerned about illustrating the darker side of socio-cultural context that makes a woman get into traumatic situations. The female characters of Mariama Ba and Alifa Rifaat are though very lifelike, yet are very traditional as they prefer to stick to the suppressed mental otr physical depression. Their characters are very strong in facing grieves and cannot forgive their men. Diversifications has been still marked in the writings of Ata Aidoo who illustrates a career centred woman, yet cannot maintain her stratus from the exploitations of polygamy. In case of Mariama Ba and Alifa Rifaat, there are situational illustrations of colonialism, where the plots were planned in the colonial environment. However, Ata Aidoo took the context further and added the dominance of women in establishing a life or relationship as her wish. In her case, the character of Esi is very strong and she rather considers men as a part of her will, though she is left al alone. Sufferance has been depicted through the situational conditions that are predetermined in the selected social environment. Dominance of masculine power is very much criticised in all these narrations and as such the practical picture of women's conditions are well depicted. These authors are also very particular about demonstrating the fact that the colonial dominance of imperialism can be very well seen in their narrations.
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