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Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Scarlet Song by Mariama Ba
Mariama Ba does it again for me with her book Scarlet song. In this book she highlights the plight that women face in an attempt to find love and establish happy families.
The book is about Mireille a French women and the daughter to a French diplomat, and Ousmane a black Muslim from a poor family. They fall in love in their childhood days and the story sees there love mature into marriage.
Mariama Ba exposes the ruthlessness of cultural and religious barriers that confront this couple. The two get married in Paris and come back to Senegal to start their lives as a couple. Ousmane is drawn back to his cultural life and leaves Mireille lonely. Mireille who has made a lot of sacrifices for her husband cannot understand her husband’s change of behavior. She had denounced her religion and became a Muslim so as to be accepted by Ousmane and his community. She had gone against the wishes of her parents by agreeing to marry a black man, and thus severed her relationship with them. Yet all this does not semm to be enough. She devotes her life to her husband and son. She struggles to fit in with Ousmane’s family and friends (who all hate her), while at the same time maintaining her opinions and beliefs.
In the end Ousmane betrays their love and drives Mireille to madness. He gets himself an African Mistress and even sets up another family with this mistress. He uses Mireille money to support this new family. At first Mireille is too trusting to suspect, or could it be that she is afraid of acknowledging the truth though deep down she knew it? An anonymous letter exposes Ousmane’s secret to his wife. She poisons and kills her own son then stubs Ousmane severally on his neck, but he manages to cheat death.
The language used in this book is simple compared to her first book, “so long a letter”.
The themes highlighted are relevant. They include and are not limited to: love, education, family, marriage, culture, religion, and ‘money’.
The style the author uses to captivate the reader include; vivid description, dialogue, use of colloquial language, repetition, letters (Mariama Ba’s trademark), flashbacks among others.
She tentatively builds up a plot creating suspense, which explodes into a climax both thrilling and shocking.

Once again Mariama Ba comes to the rescue of women, both black and white by vividly describing the challenges women face. When writing this book Mariama Ba was aware that death was her shadow, for she was suffering from a prolonged illness. Yet the book shows the writers determination and passion when it came to empowering women. Her authorial voice is strong throughout the story.
The writer in both books (Scarlet Song and So Long a Letter) shows how women are constrained and manipulated in the name of religion and culture. She also goes further to show how women are blinded by the same especially in; Scarlet Song, such that women are not aware of their full potential and also the consequences of their actions. It cautions women not to dwell on petty things like, "what will people say", and to learn to think big.
She also seeks to highlight the fact that society is changing yet the Muslim religion was/is refusing to accept or accommodate these changes. In a way she is trying to force the Muslim community (and others) to understand these changes and accept them. Change can be healthy. An example of this is her attempt to condemn wife inheritance in So Long a Letter. She also shows how sometimes culture can be cruel especially to women in Scarlet Song. She seeks to educate both men and women, and though she is no longer alive, her books are here to tell her stories.
posted by milayetu @ 5:16 AM  
  • At 2:36 PM, Blogger Maz said…

    Love this book!I read it in 2007 in high school and have been searching for Maba's other books

  • At 7:57 AM, Anonymous Ankit said…

    Read scarlet song as part of IB curriculum...loved the book!!!...hate Ousmane to the core for doing this!!! pity the beautiful Mireille..

  • At 7:57 AM, Anonymous Ankit said…

    Read scarlet song as part of IB curriculum...loved the book!!!...hate Ousmane to the core for doing this!!! pity the beautiful Mireille..

  • At 5:23 AM, Blogger Bernard K odongo said…

    Scarlet is one of the novels that rock. And generally Ba's work.

  • At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Evelyne Bosire said…

    Mariama just touches my heart,body and soul! Iv read her 2 books and all i have to say is: WOW!!

  • At 2:20 PM, Blogger queen cisse said…

    I have had the interest to read both stories of Mariama Ba and I already know why, very grateful to you and others who are sharing Al Hamdulilah, Thanks (Glory To GOD)!

  • At 12:00 AM, Blogger joan said…

    This is actually what many women in Africa are experiencing,but i thank Ma for highlighting.

  • At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Poor women!! I feel for mireille after all the sacrifices?? Ousmane .......pitiless

  • At 7:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i lv BA'S work of art

  • At 1:44 AM, Blogger Chyff Le Roux said…

    I lyk the negriyude part of it.The fact that she seeks to protect African cultures through Yaye Khady,Ouleymatou and Ousmane.

  • At 3:34 AM, Anonymous leon tapiwa mutanda said…

    this book is so educative especially to woman to be aware of the changes in the society

  • At 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The novel touches ma soul and heart........l jss luv mamba's wrk.

  • At 6:16 AM, Anonymous otildah ndhlovu said…

    indeed the tyranny of tradition has been exposed in this book..

  • At 5:32 AM, Anonymous joshua said…

    this book is so touching and makes women beware of changes in a particular community

  • At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wow dis book z an eye opener

  • At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    mariama ba z a voice to e voiceless women out ere

  • At 4:18 PM, Blogger Relief said…

    This book is amazing.

  • At 8:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mariama u lekka.we doin this as our setbook in literature

  • At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    what a novel,Ba realy knows her way around.This book will make my life,hope examiners wont make it a nut

  • At 10:37 AM, Anonymous amanda said…

    thanks mariama ba,ths z interesting...pøor women

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  • At 4:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    God be with him

  • At 4:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    may the words of the mighty Ba stands 4ever.bhekumuzi ncube zkhali,nkust high, Byo

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  • At 4:07 AM, Anonymous meliz said…

    wooooo my set book i hope i will make it

  • At 4:07 AM, Anonymous meliz said…

    wooooo my set book i hope i will make it

  • At 4:08 AM, Anonymous yolanda said…

    nyc book luv t

  • At 8:22 PM, Anonymous tinashe teena sumani said…

    i lov dis book , wish u were still alive MaBa coz it seems like e song must proceed to another level . R.I.P MaBa

  • At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    L share the same thoughts with u,Ousmane rilly got me angry and l was like,why did he waste his time?

  • At 10:08 AM, Anonymous tafadzwa matewe said…

    Love dis novel soooooo mux eyy...really hate ousmane for wat h dd to mireille

  • At 3:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    this book really really touched my heart... sometytms I cry if I tak mireille`s situation as to a real happenin lyf climax

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