The Moment Before the Gun Went Off: Class Discussion
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. …show more content…
b. “The young black callously shot through the negligence of the white man was not the farmer’s boy; he was his son”. The last line of the entire short story is very significant. This is because it explains to the reader the impact of the death for the farmer; the death of his secretive son. Additionally, the last line clears up the entire story about why the farmer was not able to tell the complete story of his taboo relationship with his dead son.
9. Race relations is an important part of the story. Point out some examples of the differences between Blacks and Whites and how it makes an impact on the story.
a. On page 2792, the comment on the elaborate funeral and how it means so much to Blacks, how they saved up their meager earnings for a decent coffin. The rich white farmer could pay for someone else’s funeral, while the majority of blacks could barely afford their own. Also on this page, the air of contempt with the “(of course)” shows the negative perception of blacks from a white point of view. Also on that page is the fact that blacks expose their children to pain and fear while whites do not. This could be interpreted as blacks being aware that they couldn’t hide their children from pain, while white children could avoid it. On Page 2793, in parentheses there is “they start