The Defeated

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THE DEFEATED
By: Nadine Gordimer
* First Published: 1952
* Type of Plot: Social realism
* Time of Work: The 1920’s to 1940’s
* Setting: Cape Town, South Africa
* Characters: The narrator, Miriam Saiyetovitz, Mr. and Mrs. Saiyetovitz * Genres: Social realism, Short fiction
* Locales: Africa, South Africa, Cape Town
* Subjects: Suffering
Friendship
Jews or Jewish life
Mines, miners, or mining
South Africa or South Africans
Wealth
Students or Students life
Parties
Shopping
Class difference

Question: Read the short story The Defeated and find three quotations for each subject and write them.

1) Suffering
* Coneesion Stores were smelled, and were dirty and the natives spat tuberculosis germs into the dust. She said it was no place for little girls. * The clamor of their voices-always shouting, but so merry so angry! * Ugly, with the blunt ugliness of toad; the ugliness of seeming not entirely at home in any element – as if the earth were the wrong place, too heavy and magnetic for a creature already so blunt; and the water would be no better: too subtle and contour-swayed for a creature so graceless. * But they worried a great deal about the money side of it every time I went down to the store there’d be a discussion of ways and means, Saiyatovitz slowly munching his bread and garlic polony lunch, and worrying. * It must have been a hard struggle for the Saiyctovitzes keep Miriam at the university, buy her clothes , and pay for her board and loading in Johannesburg. * Wicked glitter of the tin trunks, beneath the secret whispering of the blankets, the old Saiyatovitz sat glumly, with patience, waiting…… as animals wait in a cage, for nothing. * Saiyatovitz shuffled off at once to the back of the shop to make a cup of tea for me, and carried it in, sloping over into the saucer. She was uglier than ever, now, her back hunched up to meet her head, her old thick legs spiraled in crepe bandages because of various veins. And blinder too. I could see: that enquiring look of the blind or deaf smiling unsure at you from her face. * She had not invited her parents to her home at any time; they had been there only once, on the occasion of the birth of their grandson.

2) Friendship
* The first time Miriam ever came to my home was the day of my birthday party. * Our relationship at school had continued unchanged, just as before; she had her friends and I had mine, but outside of school there was the curious plane. * During our matriculation year a sense of wonder and impending change came upon us both; the excitement of coming to an end that is also a beginning. We felt this in one another, and so were drawn together in new earnestness. Miriam came to study with me in the garden at my house, and oftener than ever, I slipped down to the Concession stores to exchange a book or discuss work with her. * Race and creed had never meant very much to Miriam and me. * She usually spent part of the vacations with friends in Johannesburg.

3) Jews or Jewish life
* The signs of life that I craved were very soon evident: rich and careless of its vitality, it overflowed from the crowded pavement of the stores, and he surrounding veld was littered with sucked-out oranges and tatters of dirty papers, and worn into the shabby barrenness peculiar to earth much trampled upon by the feet of men. * The clamor of their voices-always shouting, but so merry so angry! And the size of their laughter, and the open-mouth startle with which they greeted every fresh sight: I felt vaguely the spell of the books I had read, returning; markets in Persia. Bazaars in Cairo… * He forced them to feel their ignorance, their inadequacy, and their submission to the white man’s world of many. He spiritually maltreated them, and bitterly drove his nail into the coffin of their confidence. *...
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