Discuss the significance of friendship and education in establishing a sense of equality So Long a Letter.

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

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The equality that results from friendship and education are essential components in So Long a Letter.  The fact that Ramatoulaye is writing a letter to Aissatou helps to establish this idea.  Both women were educated at French convent schools in Senegal, rare for women of the time.  Their friendship exists because of education and the appreciation of the path each one took is reflective of how education enhances human understanding.  Ramatoulaye does not reject Aissatou's choice of divorcing her husband because she is educated and recognizes how the choices made are done to affirm her own sense of being.  It is education that enables Ramatoulaye to respect the path her friend took and not repudiate the friendship.  Even though Ramatoulaye took a different path, there is a respect present because of her being educated.

The respect for choices made is the basis of the friendship between both women.  It enhances the equality shared between both in a setting where cultural tradition and practice is given an unhealthy favoritism.  The ending in which Ramatoulaye hopes that she and Aissatou can meet up and talk as friends shows how education can help to provide the lasting foundation between human beings as equals as a transcendent quality amidst a world of temporal contingency.

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