The Moment Before the Gun Went Off: Class Discussion Essay

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Class discussion: The Moment Before the Gun Went Off

1. How would you interpret the meaning of this story?
a. In the story, Gordimer connects the two races as victims of the injustices of apartheid. The protagonist, Marais Van der Vyver’s shows interest in the “black boy,” Lucas a victim of freak accident, negligence, and ultimately apartheid. In the story Gordimer’s shows how apartheid has become more than legislation; it has become a mentality that segregates and prejudges. More than just more than just the rear window of that truck separated Lucas and Van der Vyver. And in the end, just as Van de Vyver failed to acknowledge his son, the white community has refused to acknowledge the culture of discrimination and oppression.
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Little did the outside community know that they were truly complimentary of each other in the aspect of farm lifestyle. Lucas learned how to manage machinery and how to maintain a farm. And VdV appreciated the help from a young able man that was eager to learn. After these factors fell into play, the two men naturally respected one another for whom they were and what they did for one another.

7. What are some themes used to help add meaning to the story?
a. The narrator points out several stereotypes of black people living in South Africa during that time (along with alienation and communication). For example, he talks about how they raise their children differently from whites and spending their last earnings on funerals etc. By telling the story through this point of view, Gordimer is pointing out the naivety of the white people towards discrimination and separation between blacks and whites that takes place in apartheid. This view lays out a scene in which faults of a divided and victimizing apartheid are revealed.

8. Name some sentences/quotes within the text the could be considered important to meaning/moral of the story.
a. “It just goes to show what shock can do; when you look at the newspaper photographs you feel like apologizing, as if you had stared in on some room where you should not be.” This quote is important because it illustrates the
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