Nadine Gordimer Essay

1139 words - 5 pages

Literature is defined as “writings in which expression and form, [are] in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, [and] and are characteristic features” (Dictionary). Literature is commonly in connection with the cultural ideas and values. It is almost impossible to understand works of literature without knowing it’s cultural context. Literature offers insight into culture throughout the world. Nadine Gordimer, a South African writer, offers insight into her own literature.
Nadine Gordimer is a 90 year old South African writer whose literature “explore[s] the effect of Apartheid on the lives of South Africans” (Biography). In 1991, Gordimer won the Nobel Prize for ...view middle of the document...

The assumption of a seriously violent South African culture lead to the rapid growth of security in the country. In the short story, the family began to secure their home even though “riots were outside the city, where people of another color were quartered” so the husband believed that there was nothing to fear. Continuously throughout the story, the wife hears about more violence throughout the country and so she adds on to their security. Eventually, the wall outside the home “consisted of a continuous coil of stiff and shinning metal serrated into jagged blades.” The wife believed that this type of protection was necessary, even though they have never experienced a burglary or riot. The family’s problem of assumption lead them to face agony worse than an intruder could cause. Before the family went to sleep one night, the wife decided to read her son a bed time story and the next day the son decided to climb over the “protective” wall, outside their home, similar to the characters in his story. The little boy got stuck between the razor teeth of the wall while he was tangled through the coiled tunnel and was killed. The family didn’t live “happily ever after” anymore as their paranoia killed the little boy who they were trying to keep safe.
“Country Lovers,” Gordimer’s short story, reveals the strict segregation between the races in South Africa. During the Apartheid Era, there were separated public services, benches, building entrances and more for the blacks and whites (Byrnes). The segregation of the races was not only in public areas but also in love and relationships. “Twenty-five years ago, strict laws against relationships between whites and so-called non-whites would have made their love illegal” (Shoul). This ban was said to only help strictly enforce total radical segregation in the country. In “Country Lovers” the story reveals how serious the segregation was in South Africa. The main characters, Thebedi and Paulus a black female and a white male, believed they were in love since their childhood. Their love grew to be more and it began to be hard for them to secretly see each other. So, “[Paulus] told [Thebedi], each time, when they would meet again.” Eventually, their love lead them to have a child, although Thebedi now had a black husband. Thebedi tried to keep the baby a secret and have it appear to be the baby of her husband,...

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