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I would be using a formalist approach in writing my critical essay.  The book offers an immaculate setting which Nadine Gordimer presents  in a unique way and whereby captures the readers’ attention From the beginning, Nadine Gordimer, portrays her story as that which includes inter-racial relationships and by means of that introduces the concepts of racism and apartheid.  She terms love between the white boy Paulus and the slave Thebedi as forbidden due to racism and apartheid. Given the fact that Paulus was attracted to Thebedi, he eventually dislikes the fruit of their love (Nadine, 1975).

Paulus was a white farmer’s son who grew up amongst black slave children on the farm. At puberty, children were separated: the white children joined the boarding school and the black children became helpers on the farm.  As Paulus grew older, he got attracted to one of his childhood playmates, Thebedi. They began developing the relationship that was forbidden at that time. Their bond grew tighter as they spent much time together. This was done without the other members being acknowledged of their ties (Nadine, 1975).

Thebedi , at the age of eighteen, was due to get into an arranged marriage. At the same time she had discovered that she was going to have a baby. She believed that the baby was Paulus’, but she told no one. When the baby was born it was evident that it had a lighter complexion than the other black babies did. Paulus was infuriated by the fact the baby was born. He suggested that the baby be given up elsewhere. He then commenced to visit the hut where Thebedi’s family lived and later the baby died. The Thebedi’s parents believed that Paulus poisoned the baby, but he was later found innocent.

The characters were presented as children at the beginning of the story. This shows that they grew up knowing each other well and had similar childhood experiences. The experience made the young people assume that they were no different, but the society thought otherwise. Thus, Paulus is portrayed with a two faced personality as he denied the importance of the bracelet given by Thebedi to him. This was in spite exchanging the gifts with Thebedi as tokens of their appreciation. The second time Thebedi accepted a gift from Paulus, she deceived her friends that it was from a friend from another farm. This indicates of the deceiving character of Thebedi.  She also had an internal confidence that led to her mysterious livelihood. Her confidence is also shown when she gains the courage to regularly meet with Paulus at distant places on the farm. Thebedi is potrayed as tolerant. She neverminded to listen to the stories that were in fact not interesting to her and has nothing to do with her. On the contrary she encouraged Paulus to tell her stories of his boarding school life even though she had never been to the school and did not know anything about it.

The idea of forbidden love pulls in many critics to the field. The story is told in a third party voice and is mythical in nature. This could prove the fact that, Nadine Gordimer, was trying to address the issue of apartheid in someone else’s voice. The consequences of the forbidden love are revealed in the unwarranted death and the acquittal of a suspect due to his racial affiliation. For this reasons, it can be concluded that the story is in fact aimed to highlight the vices of apartheid rather than educate the readers. The narrative is, therefore, fictional considering all the aspects discussed above.

The approach I chose was determined by the setting of the novel. The intermingling of race at that time was not possible. The society was split racially and each specific race carried out their specific duties. The two developed their love in secret and did not expect anything more from the relationship but a mere compassion. The age of the characters is showed in terms of societal influence as well. They were both young and lacked guidance.

Nadine Gordimer was an activist by nature. This meant that her literal materials were aimed to assist her cause (Newman, 1990). She chose to write about racism and segregation as she wanted to show their effect on the society. Apartheid made a reasonable character of Paulus to turn against the love of his life and reject the fruit of his love. At childhood, no one anticipated that Paulus will ever neglect Thebedi, but at adulthood they went as far as accusing each other of the murder of their own child.

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