Short Story Plot Analysis Essay

1078 Words5 Pages
In "The Moment Before the Gun Went Off" by Nadine Gordimer, she tells us about the forbidden truths of a shallow, racist society in South Africa. Apartheid is defined as racial segregation; specifically : a former policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa. (Webster). This policy would help assure there were no inner-racial relationships besides those that were professional, like the relationship portrayed in Marais Van der Vyver, the white European farmer, and his black farm laborer. The theme of "The moment Before the Gun Went Off" is the idea of apartheid. This was an extreme policy that separated a country in two pieces and continues to leave its…show more content…
I feel that this story portrays blacks as if they were slaves, but also that Gordimer was trying to build suspense by giving hints to that relationship. When Marais describes his relationship with his black laborer he says, "He was my friend, I always took him hunting with me. Those city and overseas people don't know it's true: farmers usually have one particular black boy they like to take along with them in the lands; you could call it a kind of friend, yes, friends are not only your own white people, like yourself, whom you take into your house, pray with in church, and work with on the Party committee." (Gordimer). This quote shows the rising action, although it comes early in the story it helps set the tone and give the reader hints to that something more is going on. Marais shows an attitude of one who's more in touch with the blacks and although he has been a puppet to the apartheid policy, this statement helps understand that Van de Vyver has a closer relationship to his black farm boy then he leads on. This causes an inner conflict that becomes very real to Van de Vyver. He has to fight to keep his relationship with the black farm boy under wraps because of society's policies and the animosity towards inner-racial relationships. This may not seem like a big deal, because during the story this boy is portrayed as a farmhand and nothing more. At one point the author writes "…often around the farm
Get Access