How we can apply the theme of self worth is the base for any dictation in our lives when we refer to Jacqueline in So Long a Letter?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the story of Jacqueline proves the need for self worth in the lives of individuals.  It is difficult to critique Jacqueline for she suffers greatly as a result of her husband's infidelities.  However, her story actually reduces the perceived need for self worth.  Ramatoulaye admits as much.  When retelling Jacqueline's story, it is one where she falls into a nervous breakdown because of the love she holds for her husband and the fact that he has strayed so much outside of their marriage.  Her breakdown is a reflection of a decrease of self worth, in that she has tied her own conception of her self into her husband and his actions. She is validated when he is with her and inauthenticated when he strays. His return is what causes Jacqueline to be happy again.  The challenge here is not only that the story helps to invalidate the importance of self worth.  It also lies in the fact that Ramatoulaye believes that the ending to Jacqueline's story can be applied to her own narrative and struggle.  In Jacqueline's story, the continual cultural devaluing of self- worth for women is replicated, something that proves destructive to others.  It is through this story that one recognizes the need for self worth not only for their own predicament but for the sake of others who might need to find their own path during their own times of socially imposed crisis.

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