Country Lovers” and “What It’s Like to Be a Black Girl”
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Racial And Ethical Dilemma in “Country Lovers” and “What it’s like to be a Black Girl” In the short story about the “Country Lovers” and the Poem “What it’s like to be a Black Girl”, the actions of a racial background and ethical dilemmas are both represented and distinguished by the representation of a black female. Which is the main dynamic character seeded in both literary works. Both of these female static characters deal with to some suppressed amount of discrimination from society, because due to their race or as we could say the color of their skin; it is all about the dilemma of being a black female. Racial and ethical dilemma is a feeling that we may sometimes witness or experience in today’s society whether it is at work, during a game, on television or in the general public. It has existed throughout the human race and can still be experienced visually, sometimes we may or are most like to hear it, and sometimes it can actually be experienced firsthand. It is a very sensitive diverse subject that is difficult to discuss because the outcomes are normally filled with anger and depression, just like in the short story “Country Lovers “.
This short story “Country Lovers” was written by Nadine Gordimer in 1975” (Clugston, 2010). This short story is about a being young and interracial; it is the blue eyes verses brown eyes dilemma. The forbidden love between a young black farm girl named Thebedi and a young white boy, the son of the farm owner named Paulus Eysendyck. This story took place on a South African farm. The story deals with the consequences of a forbidden love between a young black girl and a young white boy in South Africa. It is clear from the beginning of this short story that the theme is centered on inter-racial dilemma relationships. The main characters Thebedi and Paulus were raised together on the same farm since they were children. Thebedi a black girl whose racial ethnicity was that of black descendant and Paulus of white. These two has young children growing up spent a lot of time playing together however once Paulus the white boy goes to a boarding school they become separated and grow apart. Paulus Eysendyck was the son of the farm owner and Thebedi’s father was a servant who worked for Mr. Eysendyck’s farm. The problem was that Paulus did not seem to realize that he could no longer be with Thebedi because she had now grown into becoming a farm girl working for his father has a servant.
Throughout this short story there are many dramatic effects. The first one that I noticed takes place when the narrator talks about Paulus going away to school; “This usefully coincides with the age of twelve or thirteen; so that by the time early adolescence is reached, the black children are making along with the bodily changes common to all, an easy transition to adult forms of address, beginning to call their old playmates missus and baasie little master” (Clugston, 2010). Although Thebedi has now grown up, Paulus Eysendyck did not seem to realize that Thebedi is just now simply a farm girl that he is not supposed to continue sharing inter relations with. In this story, the strong characters portrayed contribute greatly to the forbidden of inter-racial relationships, despite the innocence the love they had for each other displayed by sharing gifs. Paulus’ and Thebedi’s parents never forbid them from seeing one another but the narrator clearly illustrates the division that exists between black and white children, especially where education is concerned.
Another illustration is the pattern Heidi uses to describe the gift she receives from Paulus, “She told her father the missus had given them to her as a reward for some works she had done, it was true she sometimes was called to help out in the farmhouse. “She told the girls in the kraal that she had a sweetheart nobody knew about, tat away, away on another farm, and they giggled, and teased, and admired her. There was a boy in the kraal called Njabulo who said he wished he could have brought her a belt and ear–ring”. (Clugston, 2010). Love is lost and forbidden, lust takes over as described here when Paulus has no regards XXXXX XXXXX while he immerses into the water with other girls “The schoolgirls he went swimming with at dams or pools on neighbouring farms wore bikinis but the sight of their dazzling bellies and thighs in the sunlight had never made him feel what he felt now when the girl came up the bank and sat beside him, the drops of water beading off her dark legs the only points of light in the earth smelling deep shade.
They were not afraid of one another, they had known one another always; he did with her what he had done that time in the storeroom at the wedding, and this time it was so lovely, so lovely, he was surprised . . . and she was surprised by it too, he could see in her dark face that was part of the shade, with her big dark eyes, shiny as soft water, watching him attentively: as she had when they used to huddle over their teams of mud oxen, as she had when he told her about detention weekends at school.” (Clugston, 2010). The racial and ethical dilemma occurrence also becomes a noticeable factor as we read further into this short story; Paulus Eysendyck arrives home from the veterinary college he was attending for the holidays. Upon drinking a glass of fresh milk in his mother’s kitchen he over hears a conversation between the servants in the house say “where they could get a reliable substitute to help out now that the girl Thebedi had a baby” he became shocked and had to find out the truth immediately for himself, so he goes to Thebedi’s hut by the kraal to see for himself and also a place he had never been since he was a small boy.
When he reaches the hut and see’s the baby first hand “He struggled for a moment with a grimace of tears, anger, and self-pity. She could not put out her hand to him. He said, “You haven’t been near the house with it?”’ (Clugston, 2010). Here it becomes very clearly illustrated and the truth unfolds that it is and was a racial and ethical dilemma, it was forbidden to have conceived a child form being of black and white ethical backgrounds. Also His taught of killing himself and his certain reactions, his tone and choice of words reflect on racial dilemma, they both smelled trouble brewing in the air .Their forbidden relationship shows how he knew that such thing was not tolerated in his community; it was unacceptable in this ethical society. Paulus then returns back to the hut where Thebedi and the infant child lived for a reason; and it states “She thought she heard small grunts from the hut, the kind of infant grunt that indicates a full stomach, a deep sleep. After a time, long or short she did not know, he came out and walked away with plodding stride (his father’s gait) out of sight, towards his father’s house” (Clugston, 2010).
Paulus had returned to Thebedi’s hut uninvited to kill the infant child that day. “The baby had not fed during the night and although she kept telling Njabulo it was sleeping, he saw for himself in the morning that it was dead. He comforted her with words and caresses. She did not cry but simply sat, staring at the door” (Clugston, 2010). Clearly after understanding all the facts in their forbidden relationship Paulus the white boy had been troubled once he noticed that Thebedi a black female had a child that was his. The thoughts of his community, finding out about this child were unbearable and unethical to this society. He felt killing the child was his way of covering up his secret affair with another race, it taunted him into a monstrous character. This shows a racial dilemma. Now at the end of this story, the police had dug up the baby for evidence and brought charges against Paulus for murder.
Thebedi went for the first time up on the witness box has the story reads “She cried hysterically in the witness box, saying yes, yes (the gilt hoop ear–rings swung in her ears), she saw the accused pouring liquid into the baby’s mouth. She said he had threatened to shoot her if she told anyone” (Clugston, 2010). Over a year had gone by when Thebedi returned to the court house; but this time she told the court that “she said she had not seen what the white man did in the house” (Clugston, 2010). Because of her testimony “The verdict on the accused was “not guilty”(Clugston, 2010). The poem “What It’s Like to Be a Black Girl (For Those of You Who Aren’t)” (Clugston, 2010), which was written by XXXXX XXXXX in 1991. An explanation in its purest form of “What it’s like to be a Black Girl (for those of you who aren’t)” by XXXXX XXXXX, is just that, an explanation. From the first three syllables “First of all,” the author gives a sense of a story being told. She uses jagged sentence structure and strong forceful language to also show the reader the seriousness of her topic.
Smiths poem gives the audience an insider’s view into a young black girl’s transition into black woman-hood at a time where both being a black girl and a black woman was not as welcomed. Puberty is usually defined by the biological changes a young girl’s body undertakes around the age of 9 up until about 14. “It’s being 9 years old and feeling like you’re not finished,” writes Smith, “like your edges are wild, like there’s something, everything, wrong.” (XXXXX XXXXX) These thoughts run through the minds of puberty stricXXXXX XXXXX girl. The poem, “What’s it like to be a Black Girl”, is a look into the mind of a black girl in a society that is fueled with racial and ethical dilemma, both of race and gender. This person is transitioning from a young black girl into young black women and trying to accept the changes that are taking place within her body. She has been taught to be ashamed of who she is, what she looks like, and where she comes from.
She wants her features to look like those who are accepted in society. Nadine Gordimer was born in 1923, “She has lived in South Africa since birth and, except for a year spent in university, has devoted all her adult life to writing completing 13 novels and 10 short story collections, works that have been published in 40 languages. Her strong opposition to apartheid, the socioeconomic system that oppressed the majority black population in South Africa (1949-1994), is a dominant theme in her writing, with her later works reflecting challenges accompanying the changing attitudes in the country toward racial relationships. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991” (Clugston, 2010). XXXXX XXXXX who was born in 1955, was an African American poet and performance artist, has won the National Poetry Slam four times. The consequences that these women experienced during their life can be and has been by many sometimes by someone we even know, however growing up in a world of racial and ethical dilemma creates a more dramatic story, the outcomes on racial and ethical inequality today has led to creation of some many laws and affirmative action towards human civil right.
The great things about reading are that it brings you to another place, time and feeling, expression and opinions. At times a story can make you smile with the character, and other times make you cry with them, the moods will always be present, we evaluate and judge this character which in deed represents our daily lifestyle. In some stories and poems of literature, the narrator may even allow the reader to identify with the characters. In conclusion, reality can often be a lot like a piece of literature, in that sense a person may be going through the exact same thing, or something similar, and be feeling the same way. It is effortless to view the tough and unspoken racial and ethical dilemma witnessed in Nadine Gordimer’s “Country Lovers” as well as in XXXXX XXXXX’s “What It’s Like to Be a Black Girl” (For Those of You Who Aren’t). In both readings you achieve a sense of the troubled background’s that both the characters had faced because of the racial and ethical dilemma present at that point in time; the situation that people involve themselves in sometime outweighs the outcome. However no one really expects to go through these racial and ethical dilemma has a black female coming into this world.