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Engl 2103 Haunted Histories: South African Writing Course Reader Review

1008 words - 5 pages

The course reader titled Haunted Histories: South African Writing is complete with a variety of outstanding short stories that showcase some of South Africa’s finest writers. It contains various perspectives on South Africa’s diverse people, its first two decades as a democracy, and the forces that have shaped its history and continue to pose challenges to its future, particularly violence, inequality and racial discrimination. Each story is an extract from internationally awarded and inspiring novels that are dedicated to a history of apartheid. This collection is originates from different plot experiences that perceive apartheid to be more than just racial segregation, also underlining a ...view middle of the document...

The little boy knocks on the door. When the prophetess opens the door the boy goes into her house. We, the readers of this story, follow the boy into the house of the prophetess. And we learn about faith, trust and interesting beliefs in the town of Charterston (Ndebele 2002).

In Makapan’s Cave, Bosman uses first person to narrate the story through the character of Oom Schalk Lourens. He begins the story with a racist statement however turns the table on his audience with that story, which turns out to be one of the most powerful anti-racist statements (Rosenberg 2005). Through first person narration he tricks the audience of apparently missing the point and expressing the least amount of feelings, this allows us to question his reliance as the story teller. Similarly in The Prelude: The Child’s Day, Schreiner uses characterisation to explore the concept of child development through Rebekah. She escapes from adult supervision to private places, both real and imaginary, where she explores the alternative modes of behaviour, anticipating the adult that she later becomes in the story (Jenkins 2013).

Makapan's Caves is but one such an example where Bosman wanders through an almost predictable story-line, only to throw you off your seat in his very last paragraph with a storyline twist. The protagonists in Bosman’s short stories underline his clever and witty sense of humour foreshadowed in his writing. While on the other hand Plaatje’s tone of voice is more serious and realistic in the voice of the protagonist (Davis 2006). Olive Schreiner also uses this technique through the main character, Rebekah. We explore her home environment where she is raised from her perspective as a growing child to an adult. Plaatje uses religious connotation to express spiritual loss and salvation. In religion, salvation is stated as the saving of the soul from sin and its consequences (Dodson 2013). These stories all similarly touch on the importance of religion as it gave people a sense...

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