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With reference to a number of short stories show how the writers present relationship problems encountered by characters due to social and cultural pressures

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GCSE English Coursework - Diverse Cultures and Traditions With reference to a number of short stories show how the writers present relationship problems encountered by characters due to social and cultural pressures The writers in the following short stories from diverse cultures present relationship problems encountered by characters due to social and cultural pressures. The social pressures are civil war, poverty, apartheid, and education. The cultural pressures are due to different cultures with different values and beliefs, social standings in society and society's prejudices and discrimination. The authors of "The Young Couple", "Country Lovers" and "Veronica" demonstrate all of these issues using a variety of different techniques to highlight the relationship problems. They want to capture the reader's mind and sympathy and provoke thinking. The reader is invited to form his/her opinion about the issues discussed. The main themes of the stories, as intended by the authors, portray the difference in gender roles, social standing and the influence and pressure of the family. In "Country Lovers", by Nadine Gordimer, societal pressures cause the problems between the main characters and their relationship. Thebedi and Paulus cannot be together openly because of the apartheid system. Segregation of society meant that the whites "ruled" the coloured people. Paulus Eysendyk is a privileged farmers son and white. He is rick and is esteemed by others. ...read more.


This gender discrimination causes problems between Naraian and Cathy. Naraian's male friends do not acknowledge Cathy. "What galled her most of all was their attitude to herself... She felt that her presence was a strain on them". She felt "slighted" when all Naraian's friends were doing was showing her "due respect". Cathy has the burden of living up to her husband's family name. She is "forbidden" to get a job due to the "family's background and social standing." Cathy slides into the doldrums "the endless hours were harsh" and "dry boredom". All of this led to relationship problems. "Cathy and Naraian began to bicker". What was acceptable in the past was now unacceptable to both of them. Narian is too caught up with his own dead end pursuit of the ideal job and does not appreciate Cathy's feelings. A rift began. The rift between the couple is further aggravated by the influence of the family. Naraian's parents pretend to give the couple independence but slowly and gradually. They take over their lives completely. Cathy didn't like the "obligatory Sunday lunches". Moreover, "there was a certain heaviness about the house that weighed on her and made her feel oppressed and sleepy". She realized that "the trouble was they cared too much" and "everything was the subject of scrupulous family concern, to be pointed out, discussed, wondered at and advised over." ...read more.


Later when her father had, "long since stopped beating her in every other respect nothing had really altered". This first person narrative follows Okeke's ominous point of view throughout the story. The writer's style is simplistic and is appropriate for the story. The tone is very matter of fact, especially the dialogue of Veronica. The reader feels sympathy for Veronica who was oppressed by her family, society and by her own fatalistic views. Her death is testimony of the many innocent girls whose existence and dreams are stifled by poverty and inaction. Veronica says to the end "I don't want to live, you hear?" Throughout this essay, I have showed how the writers of the 3 stories show the relationship problems encountered by the characters, they created, due to social and cultural pressures. The different traditions and religions of the characters also add to the tangled webs of their lives. The writers had presented their stories with clarity as they used a variety of different techniques to highlight the problems the characters faced. They have expressed their points well with the use of incisive language, effective structure, precise tone, and appropriate mood. The writer of "Veronica", Adewale Maja-Pearce was most effective in his objective because he was compassionate in his work. The narrative is very matter of fact, and the shortness of the story and the language ties in with the fatalistic view and mind set of the main character, Veronica. -Joseph Shin ...read more.

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