Discrimination And Racism In Country Lovers And The Welcome Table

1804 words - 7 pages

Discrimination and Racism in “Country Lovers” by Nadine Gordimer and “The Welcome Table” by Alice Walker

Discrimination and racism is always an issue, but the hardship these women had to face and suffer is something that is still being discussed. Understanding the fear, struggle and hardship that women of color went through during this time period is very important. Both “Country Lovers” by Nadine Gordimer and “The Welcome Table” by Alice Walker discuss race and the struggle with trying to be accepted in society.

The short story “Country Lovers” written by Nadine Gordimer, who in 1991 received the Nobel Prize for Literature, writes about forbidden love and racial politics between a black girl and a white boy on a South Africa farm. This story takes place during the time South Africa was dealing with racial segregation and is filled with irony and a theme that is clear from the start and that is deeper than racism, but the love between the two of opposite race.

Thebedi and Paulus have grown up playing together is childhood. He is the son of the farm owner and she was the daughter of a farm worker for the farm. As they grew older, Paulus went off to boarding school and Thebedi would eventually drop out of school and help on the farm. It was known that “once the white children go away to school they soon don’t play together anymore.” (Clugston, 2010). When Paulus went off to school, they were entering adolescence and body changes were uncommon to all. Paulus was a popular boy at school and with the “sister” school that the girls went too.

When Paulus would return from school on break he would bring Thebedi gifs and she would give him a handmade bracelet in return, and this is where they grew closer and their love for each other really started to show. The loss of innocence and forbidden love as described when Paulus watches Thebedi waded in the water. “But he never felt the way he had with any other girl than the way he felt when Thebedi came up from the bank and sat beside him and the water beading off her dark legs the only points of light in the earth-smelling deep shade” (Clugston, 2010).

Paulus returns to school and Thebedi becomes pregnant (at the age of eighteen) with Paulus baby. Since it was during the apartheid it was against the law for the two different races to be together. Therefore, Thebedi married a man named Njabulo and after only two months of being married, she had a baby. Never mentioning to Njabulo that she was pregnant, this causes speculation that it could be his. “During this time it was customary for the young man to make sure, that before marriage that the chosen girl is not barren. Which Njabulo made love to her then.” (Chopin, 1894). When Paulus returned home from veterinary school, he finds out that Thebedi had a baby (which was two weeks old). He was so angry he goes went straight over Thebedi’s hut and demands to see the baby. She brings the baby into the light and shows...

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