With the way the world was a hundred years ago and it is today, is it possible to learn from the literary works of that time and apply them to now. I feel that there is a lot to learn from what was written especially when it comes to racism. How is our time different from the past? How is it the same? If the story Country lover written by Nadine Gordimer (1975) were a different time will things had been different for Thebedi and Paulus?
I chose to focus on the story of two lovers who were thrown apart by their time. Whom had to hide their affairs from their family and their social status. If it were now would they still had the illegitimate child as it pertained to those days. Being childhood friends and growing together through the summer vacations they spent together playing. As they grew together and him from boarding school one summer he brought Thebedi a gift:” a painted box he had made in his wood-work class. ” (Clungston 2010, 3. page 44 paragraph 3) as any young child still at that age she in return gave him a gift back a bracelet she had made of thin brass wire and the grey-and-white beans”. they both lied to their social statues. He said natives made the bracelet for him. All the while she told the girls that a secret admirer made her the box. I feel this is the first sign of their puppy tail love but because of their social statue they had to keep it a secret. It is made apparent in the first paragraph that they are from two different social statuses.
As quoted from the story “Country Lovers” it is told “farm children play together/ once the white children go away to school they soon don’t play together/ most of the black children get some sort of schooling/ drop every year farther behind/ the white children have surpassed these with the vocabulary of boarding-school and the possibilities of inter-school sports matches”. Just these key sentences here set the back ground to tell you of their poor status and the rich status of both the characters involved in the story.
It also tells you of how much education Thebedi had and how much more educated Paulus was as he grew older. With the lack of or no lack at all they still fall in love or infatuation on Paulus’s part is left to be unseen. It continues on into when Paulus is away just before his adult years into their relationship; of how he kept his social stature up. By “ tramping round at school dances with the girls from the “sister” school in the same town/ at a wedding he had attended with his parents on a nearby farm, had let him do with her in a locked storeroom what people did when they made love”(Cungston,2010 section 3. , page 45. ) Yet he still brought her a gift on Christmas vacation “a red plastic belt and gilt hoop ear-rings” only this time was more elaborate to her. He was not the only one who was keeping their relationship a secret she told of “as a reward for some work she had done/ She told the girls in the kraal that she had a sweetheart nobody knew about”. I feel this hear is the buildup of the plot of their love. Of how they “fall” for each other and it continues on with their growth.
This story leads on with how one day they both went for a walk unaware of what fate had in store of them meeting upon the river bank and “He told her traveller’s tales: about school, about the punishments at school, particularly, exaggerating both their nature and his indifference to them” This is where they fell in love and where they first conceived there child. “Not afraid of one another, they had known one another always; he did with her what he had done that time in the storeroom at the wedding, and this time it was so lovely, so lovely, he was surprised . . ” this is when they started making love, the story does not go into detail of how many years this continued but it does say that he did not tell her stories of school no more. As the story continues I feel he is surprised that he has fallen in love with her. That he knows that it cannot be. Then it continues on to show more examples of how there stature is much different. It continues on that he went to college and she got married and had a baby two months after marriage. She did not tell him/ she thought she was going to have a baby. ” This here leads to speculation that she was pregnant by him. If it were by today standards would she have told him the truth? As you read farther in the story you will see that he laters finds out about the child and seeks the truth. It goes on to that something happened to the child that it died unexpectedly. They went on to court to prosecute Paulus of the child’s death.
At the first trial Thebedi testifies that Paulus poisoned the child, then a year later she accepts her status in society and says that she did not see nothing. I feel that if it were no nothing of this sort would of happened that Thebedi’s child would of lived on and would of died of his/her own causes. That the possibility of Paulus and Thebedi relationship could have been more. I was unsettled by the outcome of this story but yet it helped me to think, that I would not want to have lived in these times.