Country Lovers: a Reader's Response

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Country Lovers, Nadine Gordimer
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25 November 2012


Nadine Gordimer dramatically depicts the theme of forbidden love in Country Lovers, but more than just the depth of this love, the forbidden relationship between races during the years of apartheid. Gordimer brings forward very early the fact of racial division, “the black children are making along with the bodily changes common to all, an easy transition to adult forms of address, beginning to call their old playmates missus and baasie little master”. (Gordimer, 1975) This short story powerfully demonstrates the ever present desire for that which is taboo and the often very tragic end for all concerned in an overtly subjugated society, race notwithstanding. She sets the story in South Africa on the farm owned by the white Eysendeck Family, early in the childhood of their son Paalus and the young black girl, Thebedi. The vivid descriptions or Local Color are depictions of culture and landscape within this setting allow the author to depict the atmosphere that shaped the characters moral values of individuals in a particular region. (Clugston, 6.4) The use of setting, in this case the time and place of the story also illustrates Milhauser’s opinion, “...if you concentrate your attention on some apparently insignificant portion of the world, you will find, deep within it, nothing less than the world itself. The author also cleverly uses foreshadowing to allude to issues the characters may deal with, “The trouble was Paalus Eysendeck did not seem to realize Thebdi was now simply one of the crowd of farm children down at the kraal”. (Gordimer, 1975) The overwhelming sense of cultural taboo was evident throughout the story and was recognized by both characters in their need to be secretive in their meetings. The use of foreshadowing and setting strongly supported the themes in the story, allowing Gordimer to bring the reader closer to the heart to the story. Although Nadine Gordimer grew up in...
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