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The Moment Before the Gun Went Off

In: English and Literature

Submitted By miaengelsk
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LITERARY ANALYSIS -
THE MOMENT BEFORE THE GUN WENT OFF

It wasn’t easy to be black during apartheid in South Africa. And though the whites were superior to the blacks, one moment can make your life as white turn from being a good life into a terrible life. ‘The Moment Before the Gun Went Off’ is a short story written by the South African short story writer and novelist, Nadine Gordimer, and it is published in Harper’s in 1991.
The main plot in the short story is about a white man, Marais Van der Vyver, who by an accident shoots one of his farm labourers, Lucas, while they are out hunting. Marais and Lucas were driving in a truck on a dirt track; Marais was in the car, and Lucas stood on the back of the truck to look for kudus. Marais had a riffle beside him in the truck, and unfortunately, the gun was loaded. In the same moment as a kudu passed Lucas’ sight, Marais drove over a pothole, and the jolt fired the rifle. The bullet went trough the roof of the truck and straight into the head of Lucas. This became the last moment of Lucas’ life.
Marais Van der Vyver is an Afrikaner farmer, leader of the regional party and Commandant of the local security commando. He is in his late thirties and he has three children, Magnus, Helena and Karel, and a wife, Alida. He is the son of Willem Van der Vyver, and he inherited his father’s best farm. Marais takes really good care of the farm, but he is a white man in a community where both withes and blacks are settled, so he has, as many other whites, a high barbed security fence round his farmhouse. The white people have these fences during apartheid to protect themselves against the black people, who, in their eyes, are bad people.
Marais wants people to believe that he is a good man, because he has to protect his rumor and his authority as a leader. He doesn’t show feelings, and he always hides his expression round his…...

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