Short Story Plot Analysis

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In "The Moment Before the Gun Went Off" by Nadine Gordimer, she tells us about the forbidden truths of a shallow, racist society in South Africa. Apartheid is defined as racial segregation; specifically : a former policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa. (Webster). This policy would help assure there were no inner-racial relationships besides those that were professional, like the relationship portrayed in Marais Van der Vyver, the white European farmer, and his black farm laborer.

The theme of "The moment Before the Gun Went Off" is the idea of apartheid. This was an extreme policy that separated a country in two pieces and continues to leave its scars. This short story is told from the perspective of someone obviously close to Marais because of the in depth feeling portrayed in the content of the story. As an example the narrator is talking about the effects that the accidental killing is going to have on Marais's political and social life. Also, the shadow that has been caste over South Africa will continue to grow with the negative publicity an accident of this magnitude brings with it. "He knows that the story of the Afrikaner farmer—regional leader of the National Party and commandant of the local security commando—shooting a black man who worked for him will fit their boycott and divestment campaigns, it'll be another piece of evidence in their truth about the country" (Gordimer). I feel that this brings out the true perspective that Gordimer is trying to manipulate the reader in to thinking. The attitude that Gordimer is expressing is one of disgust in the countries policy. In this story Gordimer is trying to shine light on the facts and the secrets that this policy has brought to the table. It is sad, but one can only imagine if racism was as prevalent as portrayed in this story. The idea that inner-racial relationship were forbidden is outlandish....
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