Different Cultures

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English: Different cultures [Coursework assignment]

Nabil Ali 10MY

Explore how relationships are constrained and influenced by the traditions and restrictions of the different cultures evident in the short stories in section 3 of the Edexcel anthology.


Country Lovers, A Stench of Kerosene and Veronica are stories that share large similarities with each other. The out come of each story emotionally affected the characters in each of them. The resulting out come is due to cultural laws. These three stories all have a powerful say in culture in different parts of the world. They each expose the life of people living in a culture much different to culture in England. The outcome of A Stench of Kerosene demonstrates what it was like for a woman in North India to be barren. There is no real bad and good culture because they are all seen from different points of view. English culture can easily be judged by some one living in a culture completely different to ours. Culture is different every where but as the day ages so can culture. These three stories really outline the gender segregation, cultural segregation, racial segregation and educational segregation. What is interesting to find in these short stories are how people can be so excepting to their culture and it shows us how culture is something we all follow through and is passed on to us and we pass it on to our children. It could be said that arranged marriages are bad but then again in an Indian culture they could be a good thing and non-arranged marriages are bad. Different areas in the world have different cultures but some cultural views can be changed by different races living in a country like Britain for example if a black woman came from South Africa during the Apartheid their cultural beliefs could be greatly affected. These three stories really pin point the out come of young people’s lives as they adapt to their culture, gender, class and the teachings from their parents or in laws. Our culture and where we live affects our learning and understanding of life dramatically and that is what I will be looking at in detail.

      In the story Country Lovers, which is written by Nadine Gordimer, the relationship between Paulus and Thebedi is forbidden due to race . The Their relationship was only physical. “When he was 15 and six feet tall, and tramping round at school dances with the girls from the ‘sister’ school in the same town; when he had learnt how to tease and flirt and fondle quite intimately with these girls who were the daughters of prosperous farmers like his farther; when he had even met one who, at a wedding he had attended with his parents on a nearby farm, had let him do with her what people do when they made love” demonstrates how Paulus is careless for other peoples emotions and he only wanted something physical. He did not want a meaningful relationship. Paulus wanted something physical, not to express his emotions. In my opinion Paulus is the type to play girls and doesn’t understand a loving relationship. His body has matured far more than his heart and brain. I think Paulus was just trying to impress people and expose a rebel part of him and tries to be a typical, white, teenage male in South Africa so no one can suspect his sexual relationship with Thebedi. When he talks to Thebedi he feels he doesn’t need to impress her as he tries to do at school with the white children. Thebedi’s character is far more different then Paulus’. It seemed to me that at the beginning of the story she had true feelings for Paulus. “She told the girls in the kraal that she had another sweet heart nobody knew about, far away, away on another farm and they giggled and teased and admired her” emphasizing the fact that even though she knows no one should know about Paulus, she still felt she needed to expose her true feelings to the girls in the kraal. “He had said the natives made them on his father’s farm” shows he was too embarrassed to say that the bracelet that he got was made by his black friend who works on his father’s farm. The government didn’t care for its black people as they established the colour bar which meant that all black workers were to lose their jobs and be replaced by unqualified white people with know jobs. White supervisors decided not to work until the black people came back and the new unqualified white people were removed from the work place. In 1914, after a strike from the supervisors, the government decided all races could be employed according to their qualifications. Also Black and White relationships were Illegal due to the immorality act which prevented it. The immorality act was started in 1948 and due to democratic elections was stopped in 1994. The immorality act didn’t only prevent white and black relations but Indian and coloured relations as well. This was because the government wanted the white race as the top class. This meant that if two races were to have a relationship it meant two classes were having a relationship. The black community got the worst education, medical treatments and homes. This was because it was all put in their homeland by the government. The government said they wanted to prepare black people for their future as working class. Black and white relationships were disgrace to both family groups. Nadine Gordimer, the author in Country Lovers, narrates in the third person and becomes very detached; this causes the reader to really feel what the characters felt. Because the story was written in third person we clearly see the true feelings and situations of the character. I think the author of this story may have done this because she may have wanted the reader to focus on the characters situation rather than telling the reader. The narrator talks of apartheid which was a difficult time for black people, but she doesn’t state whether apartheid was good or bad, leaving the reader to create their own views on it. A lot of the story is based on our judgment and what we think is right and wrong. Again, what I’ve noticed about this story is although Paulus and Thebedi live in the same farm their cultures are different due to class differences which is similar to Veronica.

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      In A Stench of Kerosene I understood that Guleri and Manak loved each other but North Indian cultural traditions made things harder for them. Due to her culture Guleri’s life seems very dull. She does the same things every day of her life. “She counted the days to the harvest”. Shows how counting the days would make time go by and gives her something to look forward to. Guleri is different to Manak because she won’t let things get in her way. She’s more out spoken. She knows what she wants. “Your mother said nothing so why do ...

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