Who are some of the main characters in So Long a Letter, and what are their conflicts?

The main characters in So Long a Letter include Ramatoulaye Fall and Aissatou Bâ. The conflicts they face ultimately stem from the position in Senegalese society that women are required to adopt. Conflicts arise between cultural traditions and modern thinking.

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The two main characters in So Long a Letter are Ramatoulaye Fall and Aissatou Bâ. The novel consists of a long letter that Ramatoulaye writes to Aissatou. Both women have undergone much hardship and various conflicts in their lives, largely related to being women in a patriarchal society.

Arguably the most significant conflict in Ramatoulaye's life came when her late husband chose to take a second wife. This second wife, Binetou, is the same age as Ramatoulaye's daughter, and after his marriage to Binetou, their husband, Moudou, gives all his attention (and his resources) to Binetou.

Aissatou had taken a different approach when her husband took a second wife. Even though, in this case, it was pressure from his mother that convinced Mawdo to take a second wife, Aissatou was having none of it, and this conflict ended in divorce.

Ramatoulaye also faces various conflicts which arise due to her children and their actions. Three of her daughters become cigarette smokers, and when she discovers that one of her daughters is pregnant, she decides to break ties with tradition and handle the situation in a forward-thinking manner. This ties in with the larger conflict in this novel, which is between Senegalese cultural traditions and modernity. Conflict is created by the inequalities between men and women in Senegalese society, and the ultimate conflict faced by Ramatoulaye is between tradition and progress.

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