A Game of Forgiveness

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Why would a reformer never change his or herself? In "Sponono", a short story by Alan Paton, the main character Sponono never learned to change his ways because he believed forgiveness always would be the solution when someone misbehaved. Even though he lost all his freedom after he stole the stone, Meneer still gave him many opportunities for him to make amend. According to Sponono, authorities such as Meneer should always forgive others. When Sponono and Tembo got into a fight, Sponono insisted on forgiving his antagonist because he had forgave Tembo himself. Meneer asked "Do you think, that if a person is forgiven, his offence is wiped out as though it had never been done?" "Yes," Sponono replied. To Sponono, there could be an infinite times of forgiving before he finally began to change. Each time he tried hard to work his way up and regain his freedom, but eventually he failed all these attempts. Meneer, the authority, portrayed the average sympathetic person. In reality, a person would forgave others to a certain degree. When this compassion reached the maximum capacity, the person would no long perform such actions. In terms of understanding this concept, Sponono clearly renounced the idea. Throughout the story, he emphasized on this idea by complaining how each time Meneer should forgive him. In the end, Meneer ultimately gave up on this issue. Coming to a stalemate, Meneer felt that neither Sponono nor himself would ever make a drastic move. Sponono did not take any actions toward his misbehaved demeanor, which should be something he must work on in order to regain his freedom. Being unclear of the concept of forgiving, Sponono did not feel the need to change himself.
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