The Moment Before the Gun Went Off: Class Discussion

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The Moment Before the Gun Went Off: Class Discussion

By | Feb. 2013
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Class discussion: The Moment Before the Gun Went Off

1. How would you interpret the meaning of this story?
a. In the story, Gordimer connects the two races as victims of the injustices of apartheid. The protagonist, Marais Van der Vyver’s shows interest in the “black boy,” Lucas a victim of freak accident, negligence, and ultimately apartheid. In the story Gordimer’s shows how apartheid has become more than legislation; it has become a mentality that segregates and prejudges. More than just more than just the rear window of that truck separated Lucas and Van der Vyver. And in the end, just as Van de Vyver failed to acknowledge his son, the white community has refused to acknowledge the culture of discrimination and oppression.

2. What is the setting of the story? How does it help the reader better understand the actions that play out in the story? a. The Moment Before The Gun Went Off is set in South Africa around the early 20th century. The date and location of this short story is very crucial to the story as a whole. The time period in which this short story is set in is important because it helps the reader understand the views each characters in the story have toward each other, and cultural norms which the characters take part in. With the knowledge of the story being in the early 20th century, the readers are able to come to understand that back then many farmers had black slaves help them on the farm. In the short story, a white farmer by the name of Marias Van der Vyver accidently shot one of his hunting friends/farm workers, who happened to be black. This cultural aspect of their life is key to understanding why the world made a big fuss about the accident.

3. What is the significance in the title? What is important about the moment before the gun went off rather than after? a. In the moments before the gun was fired, there was a connection between Van der Vyer and Lucas. It showed that they were both people, not a black and a white....
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