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Nadine Gordimer Comrades commentary. The following extract is from the collection of short stories by Nadine Gordimer called Comrades. In the story a white liberal woman befriends a group of black protestors and provides the

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Introduction

The following extract is from the collection of short stories by Nadine Gordimer called ''Comrades''. In the story a white liberal woman befriends a group of black protestors and provides them with food, although it was unusual to have this kind of friendship during the Apartheid system where the whites and the Coloureds were segregated. The title ''Comrades'' is ironical as the friendship between those two races, Europeans and Africans, was forbidden during the Apartheid system. Nevertheless, in this extract Godimer portrays the friendship, though it is uneasy at first, between the white liberal woman and a group of Black youngsters. Gordimer's description of the young men clashes with the description of the white liberal woman. The author highlights the contrast between the European and African cultural backgrounds through the use of contrasting language and diction. The men are presented as hungry, "they are stacking their plates and cups", suggesting they lack basic commodities in contrast to the woman's wealthy house, which has a symbolic significance as the Blacks were stripped off not only of essential human rights such as education, "they are children...for whom school is a battleground", but also wealth creating an inequality in the South African society. ...read more.

Middle

The simple sentence ''They eat.'' consists only of one verb and one pronoun to portray how the Blacks are focused on the food and ''overwhelmed'' by her hospitality. ''They stare at the food but their eyes seem focused on something she can't see; something that overwhelms.'' Illustrates the surreal nature of this situation as the Blacks were used to being supressed by the Whites, as any interaction apart from employer and employee relationship was forbidden by the law. The narrator uses commas to separate the simple statements, ''They need carbohydrate, they are hungry, they need it, they burn it up.'' to magnify the amount of basic commodities which the Africans lacked. This in effect encourages the reader to sympathise with the Africans and view them as equal human beings greatly supressed by the South African government ruled by the Europeans. Gorimer also makes use of complex-in-structure sentences in order to depict the numerous problems that the Africans had to face due to their skin colour as they were considered meaningless and less intelligent than those with a pale complexion, ''They are the children... for whom school is a battleground, a place of boycotts and demonstrations, the literacy of political rhetoric,...'' ...read more.

Conclusion

implying that the woman is slightly hesitant about offering food to the Blacks while the government discouraged any kinds of friendship between different races. The end of the extract is dominated by question marks, ''...for leading a boycott? Throwing stones at the police?'' as Gordimer symbolises the stereotypical values of the older generation questioning the young generation, doubting their new approaches to solve the problems resulting from the Apartheid system. Gordimer suggests that such stereotypical views make it more difficult for the Whites to accept the Black in the society resulting in segregation. In conclusion, Gordimer presents the Black men differently than the white woman to highlight the inequality in apartheid. The friendship between them is uneasy and unnatural as Gordimer implies that the stereotypical views engraved in the Whites' minds prevents many friendships to be formed between the Whites and the Blacks. Gordimer' purpose of depicting such friendship in her short story ''Comrades'' is to encourage the readers to break stereotypical barriers between the Blacks and the Whites, suggesting that the Blacks are equal human beings lacking basic commodities such as food, education and shelter due to suppression of the Coloureds duing the Apartheid system. ?? ?? ?? ?? Name: Giang Tran ''Comrades'' by Gordimer - IOC written commentary ...read more.

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