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Reading Reflection

Essay by   •  May 9, 2012  •  Essay  •  611 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,258 Views

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When I first read the short story, Country Lovers, by Nadine Gorimer, my first inclination from the title was that it was going to be a love story. She captured my imagination through her narration of how the love story takes place. But in reality, [s]he engaged my attention towards the interracial issues from a sociological and psychological perspective. (Clugston, 2010, ch3,pg69)

Country Lovers is a story about Paulus Eysendyck, a white farmer's son, and Thebedi, the black daughter of one of the farm workers working in Paulus' father's farm. As children, Paulus and Thebedi played together, but when they become teenagers they begin a sexual relationship. They have fond feelings for each other, even though their relationship is destined to fail.

I have learned through the first few chapters of our recent readings that this form of writing is considered to be Symbolic. The reason I say this is because the definition of symbol in Clugston, 2010, chapter 2, under literary terms is: an object, person, or action that con¬veys two meanings: its own literal meaning and something it stands for as well. The literal meaning is quite simple, two children from two different racial, social and economic backgrounds, grow up together and fall in love. What the story stands for based on the writer's perspective is apartheid in Africa. Apartheid means to separate, and in Africa the blacks and the whites were separated, much as here in the United States there was segregation of the white and black races.

I chose the formalist approach for this story because it is the most widely used approach. As I examine what happens in the story I can see that the writer is conveying her thoughts of apartheid. This can clearly be seen throughout the story, but moreover towards the end, when Paulus learns that Thebedi has married and has a light-skinned child. He panics because now everyone will find out that he has been having relations with a black woman and pays her a visit in her hut. In an attempt to remedy the situation and have the child brought up in a white household he asks her to give the baby to someone else to raise, but she doesn't. Two days later, he asks to see the child alone. Waiting outside the hut, Thebedi hears soft groaning sounds, and the child soon dies. She realizes what has happened but instead pretends the child is sleeping, and just did not wake up for a feeding throughout the night. She then pretends to her husband Njabulo that the child just died naturally. This is the only way she can avoid having her husband find out that she allowed her previous lover, Paulus, to come into the hut and be alone with the child. It also protects Paulus from being accused of murder by Njabulo or anyone else. Unfortunately, secrets are hard to keep and somehow, officials discover that the baby was poisoned, and Paulus is arrested. Initially, Thebedi says that she knows he poisoned the baby, but

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