Nature Of Nieu Bethesda In Athol Fugard's The Road To Mecca

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Athol Fugard’s play, The road to Mecca introduces a character, Elsa Barlow. She is a complex character with strong opinions. She comes across as confused and troubled throughout the play. Her mood changes from being desperate to openly resistant and then from annoyed to remorseful. She battles with her own depression while also trying to help her old friend miss Helen with her troubles. Within this essay I am going to discuss how the confinement of time, the year 1974, and space, which is Miss Helen’s home, helps readers see deeper into the nature of Elsa’s character. I will discuss how her character unfolds through her perceptions of Nieu Bethesda, how her attitudes and disclosures further reveal the nature of her character and what effects…show more content…
She said the phrase “God without mankind” sums up the way she feels about the Karoo. Furthermore, Elsa’s perceptions about the community in Nieu Bethesda reveal her own personal views and are not the same as Helen’s, Elsa questions Helen if anybody has bothered to ask what the Coloured people think about Getruida wanting to open a liquor store? Helen asked: “Are we going to have that argument again?” (Fugard 1992: 29) Elsa clearly has been talking about the way the village is doing things before. She does not agree with their way of life and her foil character reveals the contrast in opinions between her and Helen…show more content…
Elsa opposes the Afrikaner system; this was made clear when she gave a lift to an African woman, outside Graaf –Reinet walking with her baby to find a place to live. The woman said the baas told her that she had to leave the farm shortly after her husband died. Elsa referred to this incident as: “...a good old South African story. “ (Fugard 1992:25). Elsa is also facing a disciplinary hearing for what she believes in; she gave her coloured class homework to write a letter to the State President about racial inequality. Elsa said: “…I’d give anything to be able to walk in and tell that School Board exactly what I think of them and their educational system.” She then exclaimed, “… for as long as I’m in the classroom a little subversion is possible. Rebellion starts, Miss Helen, with just one man or woman standing up and saying, “No. Enough!” Albert Camus. French writer.” (Fugard 1992:31). Elsa holds the Afrikaaner and their religion accountable for the lack of freedom in society, one example is her view of marriage, Katrina is a 17 year old mother, married to a drunk who apparently beats her. Elsa said to Helen that Katrina has a few rights and that she should divorce Koos. Helen said she can’t just leave Koos, because they are married, but Elsa snaps back by saying: “…There’s the Afrikaner

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