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Ah, woe is me

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Ah, Woe Is Me! (A South African short story published in 1952) In South Africa in the 1950s apartheid and segregation were words that described the conditions under which the native Africans lived. They nearly had no rights, and they were being suppressed by the white minority. Black women and men often had to choose between living with their families in the Townships and earning money at white residents. The themes of oppression and the constant struggle of giving your children a better life and making them understand that the world belongs to the white man are what influence this story. The story "Ah, Woe Is Me" starts in medias res and is about a coloured woman, Sarah, who chose to earn money in hope of giving her children a proper education. ...read more.


"Ah, Woe is me, she said; and that was her comment on life" (lines 12-13) Sarah's religious upbringing is distinctly shown in the story. With the comment from the quote above, she illustrates the religious belief of only being sat on earth to complete a mission, and that one should accept both the good and the bad in life: "They must learn - and she was hard now - they got to live in this world the way it is" (lines 70-71). In spite of strict and tactful upbringing, Sarah is very perceptive towards her children. She lives more than sparingly herself while all her money goes to the education of her kids. The narrator's attitude towards Sarah, her kids and the society in general is very na�ve. She doesn't really understand why Sarah is sending the children away for boarding school, and she is almost surprised that the children behave submissively when she lets them stay for Christmas, as if she thinks they would be wild animals. ...read more.


She knows Sarah is very sick, but all she can do is to comfort the kid. She doesn't have the strength to go against the system, and therefore it is impossible for her to do something. The handkerchief resembles a sign of surrender; even though the white woman knows there is something to fight against and something to do, the costs would be too big for her, if she were to try to fight it. Besides showing the hardships of the blacks in South Africa during the Apartheid, this story illustrates that some white people had quandaries from time to time too, because they knew the wrongful injustice going on against the blacks. Nevertheless most of the white people only helped the black people on small basis by giving them clothing etc like the narrator does, because they didn't want to go against their "own kind" and be appointed as "traitors". ?? ?? ?? ?? English Assigment 01-05-2008 Louise Dalsgaard Side 1 af 2 2.l - SG ...read more.

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