Short Story Plot Analysis

1083 words 5 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…

"The young black callously shot through the negligence of the white man was not the farmer's boy; he was his son." (Gordimer). Now I can understand the affection and sorrow that is expressed throughout the story for this young black boy. Van de Vyver has gone against the policy that his peers stand for and he loved this boy because he was his own. This was the reason for this inner conflict. Van de Vyver wanted to treat his son with respect, but he could not. Not only did he have an affair with a black woman that ended up producing a kid, but he already had a family. If his peers were to find out about this they would surely strip him of his titles and credibility. On the other hand, this is his son no different from his other kids, except for color. This is the inner-conflict that Van de Vyver had to deal with everyday and now that he is dead the secret will follow him to the grave. He feels guilt and that is very clear when he pays for the boy's funeral and lets it be known that he will take care of the family as well. A similar conflict is used in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. Jackson's character Mrs. Hutchison is the so called "winner" of the lottery. Right away she expresses disgust and how the lottery was conducted unfairly. This is an inner conflict like the one used in Gordimer's short story "The moment Before the Gun Went off." Both


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