“The Suit” by Can themba and “The Wind and a boy” by Bessie Head
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Bessie Head wrote the story “The Wind and a boy”. Her story revolved around a boy was accepted unconditionally and loved even more so. Alan Paton wrote the story of Ha’Penny, a sad story with a bittersweet ending about a young delinquent and his search for belonging. This essay shall compare these two boys, they way their lives were lived, their stance on belonging and their deaths.
The two separate boys had very different lives however lived with the same passion for life. Friedman (of The wind and a Boy) was welcomed into life by his grandmother who ” waited for your bundle” His mother however did not love him, and in fact she almost abandoned him at birth. Friedman was not allowed to see this technical error and he chose not to. Friedman lived with consequences, but he lived, he lived life like it was supposed to be lived.
But for Ha’Penny all he ever wanted to do was live. He was kept in a reformatory. Locked up from the world, hidden from the beauty of the world and exposed to kindness in the form of a man, a school teacher with a soft heart. Ha’Penny was a wistful boy, who had conformed (and neatly so) to the reformatory’s way. He not seeking attention was found and so we learn of his “family”.
Family to Friedman was a part of his life that he most definitely took for granted, be it his cultural circumstance, his relatives, or his personality Friedman had an entire community for a family. Without hesitation he was accepted and most importantly loved. Friedman is called the “King of Kings” and without trying he is a boy who is respected and looked after.
The only “king” in Ha’Penny’s story is Ha’Penny himself. A boy who lived in his own world, formed within the world of barriers, bars and boundaries. A young man who taunts the streets with an eye for belonging and acceptance choosing his prey as he sees fit. Cleary Mrs. Maarman sees herself and her family as prey in a game played by the young man. Ha’Penny is let to fend for himself wherever he is dumped and most certainly is not loved. At the end of his story the narrator says “but I had passed out of his world”. Ha’penny does not rest on the past and begrudge Mrs. Maarman instead he welcomly accepts her into his dwindling life.
Dwindling would have been the last word Friedman would use to describe his life, beginning or blossoming is more the sort. Friedman was killed tragically in an accident quite unrelated to his life. Friedman passed his village before his time, The reader becomes to believe that he was not mourned in death and one comes to question if he was loved enough in life to die without feelings of regret.
Regret is exactly what Mrs. Maarman feels when Ha’Penny passes, expectantly. Again the reader is left to believe that Ha’Penny’s death was mourned, only by one possibly two, but the mourning was great enough for many to share in.
Ironic how the endings to each story seem to be wrongly put. The mourning of Ha’Penny seems better fitted to Friedman’s life, whilst the lack of mourning in Friedmans death seems to fit Ha’Penny’s life. The lack or lack thereof of belonging and life living seem irrelevant in death. These two stories teach one it Is indeed the smaller things, feelings, and actions that truly are reflected din death