How does Nadine Gordimer denounce Apartheid in this short story? Judging from this text, do you think she uses literature as a political weapon? In Six Feet of the Country, a short story written in 1956, the South-African white author Nadine Gordimer tells the story of a white man and his wife who have to face the cruelty of Apartheid when trying to help one of their employees to bury his brother worthily. At a time when Apartheid was the norm in the South-African society and racism and discrimination were the only ways to behave towards black people, Nadine Gordimer dares in this text to denounce the cruelty and the meaninglessness of a situation accepted by all parts of the population.
Tags: Six feet of the country short story, Six feet of the country by Nadine Gordimer, Six feet of the country analysis
[...] In this way, she points out the ruinous consequences it has on the mentality of both black and white people, and she seems to foresee how difficult it will be to make this situation change. But in feet of the Country”, Nadine Gordimer also uses a different method to denounce Apartheid, letting the reader see its meaninglessness and cruelty through the eyes of the narrator. On the one hand, the white couple has throughout the short-story a very negative judgment on Apartheid and racial discrimination. [...]
[...] Moreover, the fact that the narrator and his wife are particularly startled” when Petrus comes knocking at their window in the middle of the night underlines their total confidence in their employees. The attitude of Lerice, who is “almost offended with [Petrus], almost hurt.”(p. 11) when she learns that the black employees hid an ill man for several days without having said anything to them proves how she hoped to have normal, confident relations with her servants. It is also very interesting to notice that this attitude is reflected in the way the narrator relates the story. [...]
[...] Eventually, the reaction of the health authorities when they learn that they did not give Petrus the right corpse, and over all the remark of the mortuary employee at the end of the story saying, when the narrator tries to find the corpse of Petrus' brother again: “there are so many black faces surely one will shows the indifference and the scorn of the South African society towards blacks. Through this short story, Nadine Gordimer intends, in 1956, that is to say at a time when Apartheid was common sense accepted by almost everybody, to make her readers aware of the dangerousness, the cruelty and the absurdity of this regime. It is in my view really important for readers from the 21st century [...]
[...] Their fear of white people is also visible through their silent and unconfident attitude whenever they do something wrong, as the narrator remarks that boys stood around as they do in the kitchen when it is discovered that someone has broken a dish uncooperative, silent” (p10). This attitude simply proves the atmosphere of fear in which the black employees live despite the attitude of their bosses. But this feeling of inferiority goes even further, and the narrator relates the behavior of Petrus when he announces to him that the corpse of his brother has already been buried so that it is impossible to get it back: just kept on looking at me, out of his knowledge that white men have everything, can do anything; if they don't, it is because they won't.” (p.13). [...]
using our reader.